Economic regeneration of small-scale fishing

Project description

Title: Economic regeneration of small-scale fishing in accordance with social and environmental standards following the earthquake in the coastal region of Esmeraldas
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Ecuador, Esmeraldas region
Lead executing agency: Ministerio de Agricultura, Ganadería, Acuacultura y Pesca (MAGAP)
Overall term: July 2016 to July 2017


Small-scale fishing in the provinces of Manabí and Esmeraldas has been severely affected by the earthquake of April 2016, whose epicentre was in Pedernales. Fishery production in the canton (municipality) of Muisne in southern Esmeraldas and in the cantons of northern Manabí has fallen by 70 per cent. This is due, on the one hand, to the damage caused to the means of production and the infrastructure, and, on the other hand, to the drop in demand following the decline in local tourism. Fear of aftershocks has also reduced the number of fishing boats venturing out to sea.

Small-scale fishing is one of the coastal population’s main economic activities. Food security will be at risk if people are unable to resume fishing in the very near future.


The Ecuadorian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Aquaculture and Fisheries (MAGAP) and the decentralised autonomous governments are in a better position to realise their programmes for the sustainable economic regeneration of small-scale fishing in the communities of the canton of Muisne (Esmeraldas).


The target group consists of the fishing communities in the canton of Muisne, where around 3,500 people work in small-scale fishing. Their activities include collecting molluscs and catching crabs.

Initially, the main focus is on stabilising the economic situation of the people affected by the earthquake. The aim is to ensure that all those whose livelihoods depend on small-scale fishing are able to regain their source of income as quickly as possible. The project team is working on restoring equipment such as boats and nets and on repairing damaged storage facilities and jetties. It is being assisted by members of the small-scale fishery production collectives, who help with construction and repair work in return for a stopgap salary that enables them to provide for their families in the interim.

The earthquake has also brought the value chains (particularly tourism) to a standstill. Project staff are analysing new marketing channels and markets for fish, molluscs and crabs. Businesses and associations are also being brought on board to help with the analysis. In collaboration with the fisheries cooperatives, the project team is exploring the possibility of freezing and packing the products on site. Training courses for fishers, mollusc and crab collectors are designed to generate awareness of fishing quotas and protected periods so as to ensure the preservation of stocks.

The project team is advising MAGAP, the National Fishery Institute (INP), the Ministry of Environment (MAE) and the canton of Muisne on devising a fisheries strategy that incorporates social and environmental standards.

Project staff are collating all the positive lessons learned and making them available to other coastal regions affected by the earthquake.

The activities are being planned in cooperation with MAGAP and Muisne’s decentralised autonomous government. They are then implemented with the help of non-governmental organisations and businesses such as restaurants and companies in the processing industry.