Peru: threatened delicacy from the Amazon | Global Ideas | DW | 02.08.2016
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Peru: threatened delicacy from the Amazon

The paiche is the largest carnivorous freshwater fish in the amazon region. And a delicacy. That threatens its population, which affects indigenous fishermen as well.

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Peru: Saving the Arapaima from Extinction

Project goal: Co-management of select conservation areas to sustainably use and preserve biodiversity in certain protected areas in Peru's amazon region. This includes the protection of the threatened Arapaima, also known as Paiche in Latin America.
Project partner: Various local public organisations including UGEL, DRE and DIREPROU, local fisheries group "Los Lobos"; Veterinary Department of the University San Marcos (IVITA); Research Institute of the Peruvian Amazon Region (IIAP); Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), National Protected Areas Administration (SERNANP).
Project size: The 10 communal protected areas, which were designated based on the initiative of the indigenous population, comprise about 2 million hectares. The Imiria protected area comprises 136,000 hectares.
Project budget: The project "Co-management Amazon Peru" (CoGestión) is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI) and funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) with 5 million euros.
Projekt period: 1/2013 to 06/2017
Key Species: Among the threatened species in the Imiria protected area are the Jabiru storch (Jabiru mycteria), Amazon manati (Trichechus inunguis), spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus), yellow-spotted river turtle (Podocnemis unifilis) and the arapaima (Arapaima gigas).

More than 2 meters long and weighing as much as 130 kilos, the arapaima is not only the largest carnivorous freshwater fish in the Amazon region but is also considered a delicacy in Peru. Unfortunately, culinary delight all too often outweighs conservation. Because the animal shows up on restaurant menus more and more often, it is threatened by overfishing: The arapaima is increasingly disappearing from the waters of indigenous fishermen. There are no exact figures, so it is unclear just how threatened the fish is but a project by the German Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) is now trying to protect the endangered fish: In the Imiria protected area, catching arapaimas is now forbidden. At the same time, the GIZ is working with the regional government to establish exceptions for the indigenous fishermen: If they respect fishing and closed seasons and help patrol the protected area, the local fishermen will be allowed to continue catching and selling the paiche.

A film by Carmen Meyer

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