Women protecting our oceans.

Today in the Celebration of World Oceans Day, we recognize the great value they have in our lives and highlight the importance of the feminine gender in the conservation of this ecosystem. We present the stories of two women who demonstrate leadership in protecting our seas.

Waldetrudiz Obregón Andrade.

Waldetrudiz Obregon Andrade.

Waldy as her family and friends call her, is a local woman from the Guapi municipality on the Pacific Coast of Colombia, has devoted her life to the sustainable development of her home region – in particular conservation of marine resources. Since she was a child, she felt a great interest in environmental issues and the sea, convinced that we must fight to conserve our resources part of the only planet we have. Waldy has always developed actions with members of her community for the common wellbeing, understanding how the nature supports people and their lives.

Small-scale fisheries are one of the most important economic activities for the communities of the Guapi municipality. “Every day we are more aware of the need to sustainably use and protect the oceans as our livelihoods and food security depend on the health of marine resources and ecosystems”. Waldy has seen how fishers commonly faced the challenge of having to sell their catch at low prices, unable to recuperate costs or recover from debt, and increasing the need to harvest more fish which reduces sustainability.

Through the implementation of the EcoGourmet program, Waldy and her community, are understanding better how quality, size, and sustainability of fish species is more valuable than large volumes of catch, and that best fishing practices can result in novel market opportunities.  In turn, Waldy and her community will benefit from income and livelihood security, strengthened capacity of the fishers’ organization, and enhanced sustainability of the marine resources on which they depend.

There are still a lot of challenges to be addressed in Guapi and Waldy feels the luckiest woman to have the opportunity to make a difference.

Yesenia Suarez. 

A woman who resides in Buenaventura, Valle del Cauca, where Colombia’s main seaport is located on the Pacific coast. This young biologist has worked in the fishing sector in search of her professional growth and to contribute to the development of this area of the country and, in a special way, to the artisanal fishing that is the main economic activity of the communities of the region. She has worked with some fishermen’s organizations in search of support in the generation of social and economic alternatives that contribute to their quality of life.

Yesenia works day by day for the conservation of our oceans, to preserve the conditions of the population as well as their cultural and ancestral knowledge. She not only helps one person, nor her family, she helps an entire community. Now, she is a local expert of the EcoGourmet program, and is happy to be part of a project in which she is contributing to something to the planet that needs us so much. Now her challenge is to accompany these fishermen’s organizations, so that they can implement responsible fishing and thus help our seas.

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