One of the most consumed species of fish in the Peruvian Amazon now has a secure future thanks to the Kandozi
• In some Amazon regions, the boquichico (Prochilodus nigricans) represents up to 80% of the total catch
Loreto, 2012 - The boquichico is very noble. With just over 30 cm long, this little “peje” - as fish are called in Loreto, Peru - is both a key link in Amazonian aquatic ecosystems and the main source of protein for the inhabitants of the wetland complex known as Abanico del Pastaza, in northeastern Peru.
This wetland complex is home to over 30 indigenous communities, including the Kandozi people, who back in 1991, tired of watching how foreign fishermen were taking fish from the Rimachi Lake (7900 ha - the largest in the Peruvian Amazon), decided to organize themselves and take on the management of the lake. They formed fishing associations, developed management plans approved by the State, and improved their fishing practices and even their profits, something inconceivable until then.
Last March 29, the Peruvian Government through the Ministry of Production – PRODUCE, established a permanent ban on boquichico in the Pastaza River Basin, from November 1 to March 31. This measure, of vital importance, consolidates more than a decade of work of the Kandozi people, who are closely involved with the conservation and sustainable management of their resources.
WWF biologist Hernan Flores sums it up well: “This is one of the latest achievements of our work together with the Kandozi, which after over 10 years consolidates an experience with great results for the local population and the place where they live. These have been years of struggle and coexistence; we have shared several experiences with our brothers from Pastaza, and we have learned a lot from them, and they from us. Now, this is a new challenge for the Kandozi, which they will take on with great responsibility and commitment”.
Thus, the Kandozi, together with the Regional Directorate of Production (Dirección Regional de Producción - DIREPRO) and other institutions, will continue the struggle to preserve and ensure a sustainable use of resources, in one of the most productive wetlands in the Amazon.
A scenario of global importance
The wetland complex of the Pastaza River in Loreto, also known as Abanico del Pastaza, is the point of confluence of dozens of rivers and lakes that stretch through flooded forests and wetlands along over 3.8 million hectares, making it the largest Ramsar site (wetland of global importance) in the Amazon. It was recognized in 2002 based on the joint work of the Kandozi people and WWF, which launched a comprehensive recovery and management of wetland resources strategy.