The brine crossing.
A long and fruitful journey to bring an ice producer to the ASPACP organization in the community of Panguí, Nuquí. Colombian Pacific.
Within the framework of the Conservation International and Blue Action Fund project “ Fishing for a prosperous future ”, Fondo Acción and APC Colombia (Presidential Agency for International Cooperation) made ASPACP's dream come true, having an ice producer in their organization.
ASPACP is one of the artisanal fishing organizations allied to the EcoGourmet program, where, jointly, they work on organizational strengthening and good fishing practices that, among other actions, seek to maintain, process and transport fishing resources at adequate temperatures ( below 0ºC) in order to guarantee its quality and safety.
But guaranteeing the cold chain is not an easy task. For this, the fishermen, when entering the sea with their regulatory gear, their bait and all the necessary elements, must carry large blocks of ice with them, in order to keep the fish fresh from its capture, which They are produced by a brine and, generally, marketed by intermediaries in the sale of fish, which considerably increases the price of the tasks for fishermen's organizations.
Considering this context, and the need to promote economies of scale that allow fishermen to increase the marketing price of their products, within the framework of La Minga, with the support of the Presidential Cooperation Agency (APC) and the EcoGourmet Program, delivered a brine to ASPACP in recognition of their hard work and commitment to responsible fishing.
This was not an easy task, in the first place, the brine that weighs around 400kg had to be transported from Cali to Buenaventura and then shipped, in a cargo ship, from the port to the municipality of Nuquí.
Subsequently, and due to the fact that the unloading dock in the municipality of Nuquí does not have tools to unload large and heavy volumes such as brine, more than a dozen people were asked for support to remove it from the ship and mount it on the boat to be mobilized to the community of Panguí (one of the townships of the municipality of Nuquí, where ASPACP is located) .
Once the brine was mounted on the boat, a very risky journey was undertaken, challenging waves and currents in a boat loaded with a structure that challenged its balance in the open sea. Thanks to the experience of local motorists, it was possible to reach the community of Panguí with the brine.
There, the unloading and mobilization, to the ASPACP collection center, required seeking the support of new people and facing the difficulties of having to load a structure of almost half a ton, more than a meter wide in the middle of 50 cm roads to a distance of approximately 100 mt. The people of Panguí responded to the call of the Minga de "Vota", a cultural strategy of collective aid, and thus they were able to take the brine to its destination.
Finally, the established place was reached and the challenges continued. This time it was to place it inside the intended building, facing the difficulties of the measurements of the area, part of the cement structure had to be demolished to enter the brine to its place. After hours of work, dozens of people supporting the weight of this equipment, the brine crossing in Panguí was completed.
“When I observe the brine on the ship, I think about the challenges that must be faced to disembark it and put it in the right place for its operation within the ASPACP collection center and I cannot deny that it gave me nerves that a bad strategy to Facing the challenges would not allow me to take it to its final destination, but those desire to meet the goals and not fail the trust that they once again put in me was stronger, ”says Robinson Mosquera, local leader of the EcoGourmet program in Nuquí.
“The arrival of the brine for our association and the community was something very longed for by all since we see that it is extremely necessary to have ice production for the benefit of all. This being one of the greatest difficulties that the community fishermen have for the conservation of our fish product ”, observes Mirna Angulo, a member of ASPACP.
The fishermen and women of these coastal regions are faced with different challenges, and every day they work to make their craft an improved job, aiming at the well-being of their community and the development of their environment.
EcoGourmet is a pioneering program in Colombia, on good fishing practices in the country and the development of fair and equitable markets for these products. We believe that it is possible to protect species and ecosystems in areas where fishing is carried out in a sustainable way, valuing fishing communities and their traditional practices.