PBI-Guatemala congratulates fishers and lawyers defending the Champerico estuary from corporate shrimp farming

Published by Brent Patterson on

On March 16, the Peace Brigades International-Guatemala Project posted: “Congratulations to the fishermen and their team of lawyers and attorneys at the Law Firm for Indigenous Peoples [Bufete para Pueblos Indígenas].”

The Bufete para Pueblos Indígenas has posted on their Facebook page: “Retalhuleu criminal court judge declares lack of merit in favor of 6 fishermen who were criminalized since 2015 by the Nova Guatemala company.”

It adds: “This is due to their exercise in defence of a healthy environment and for having denounced the contamination that this shrimp company was doing in the estuaries from which the families were supplied. The judge considered that there are no presuppositions that constitute a crime.”

UDEFEGUA further explains: “We have accompanied the hearing of the first statement of 6 defenders who were denounced by the shrimp company Pesca Nova, S.A. after they demanded intervention from MAGA [the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food] and MARN [Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources] due to contamination and ecocide in the Champerico estuary by the company.”

In 2002, the World Rainforest Movement noted: “The community of Champerico –localized in Retalhuleu [on the Pacific Ocean] – has been fighting in defence of their livelihoods since 1995, when the shrimp farming firm Camarones S.A. (Camarsa) and its subsidiary Pesca S.A. built a fence to prevent public access to the wetlands.”

“Champerico is a port, being fish the main traditional diet of the local people.”

The article adds: “The fisherfolk have seen their traditional fishing grounds threatened by the intrusive moves of the company which has also polluted the estuaries, logged mangroves to build industrial shrimp ponds, provoked the death of hundreds of fish, and repressed and intimidated fisherfolk.”

In 2004, the BBC reported: “Growing consumer demand for shrimp is fuelling an environmental crisis in some of the world’s poorest nations, according to a new report. The [London-based] Environmental Justice Foundation [claims] shrimp farming is destroying wetlands, polluting the land and oceans and depleting wild fish stocks. Millions of people depend on the fish stocks for their food and livelihoods.”

While it does not appear that Canadian companies are involved in this in Guatemala, The Chronicle Herald reported in 2019: “[Saint John-based] Cooke Inc. says it has acquired Seajoy Seafood Corp., which farms shrimp in Honduras and Nicaragua.”

 

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