Sunday, February 21, 2010

Project PESQAR

Project PESQAR is a sustainable artisan fishery project taking place in the Northwestern Ecuadorian province of Esmeraldas. The project is a part of the NAZCA Institute for Marine Research, a Quito-based organization, engaged in a variety of marine stewardship and research programs. Currently, the principle focus of NAZCA is their management of the Galera-San Francisco Marine Reserve in Esmeraldas. The reserve extends Southward from the fishing village Galera to its Southernmost point San Francisco del Cabo. One of the primary projects in the reserve is Project PESQAR, NAZCA´s effort to sustainably enhance the artisan fishing taking place in the reserve. Generally speaking, the goals of the program are to both increase the sustainability and health of the fishery from a biological and ecological perspective, and to enhance the quality of life of those directly engaged with the marine resource, socio-economically. Due to the sustenance and economic livlihood of these communities being dependent on fishing, it is NAZCA´s goal to make the quality of life of these communities just as much a goal for their projects as is the conservation and biological research taking place in the reserve. I have been brought on by NAZCA to become a part of Project PESQAR and live in the Galera-San Francisco Reserve. My personal focus will be centered upon the socio-economic and development side of Project PESQAR. Project PESQAR has a variety of goals for the reserve ranging from more sustainable harvesting methods to increased efficiency in the commercial process. Each of these are designed with the intention of both preserving the marine resource in a sustainable manner, as well as fostering development , and elevating the socio-economic indicators within the communities living in the Reserve. There is no shortage of work to be done, and I will make an effort to keep this page as up to date as possible with the progress of Project PESQAR and NAZCA.

Proyecto PESQAR es un proyecto de Pesqueria Artesinal Sustentable en la Provincia del Noroeste de Ecuador, Esmeraldas. El proyecto es una parte del Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas NAZCA, una organizacion de Quito, que tiene ana variedad de proyectos y programas manejando temas del mar y la costa. Ahora, NAZCA esta enfocado en el manejo de la Reserva Marina Galera-San Francisco. La reserva se extende desde el pueblo Galera, por el Sur, hasta San Francisco del Cabo. Uno de los proyectos principales que NAZCA tiene en la Reserva es el Proyecto PESQAR, apoyando al desarrollo sostenible de la pesca artesinal que ya existe en el region. Por lo general, las metas del proyecto son: asegurar la sostenibilidad de la biologia y ecologia, y tambien, mejorar la calidad de las vidas de aquellos que estan involucrado directamente con este recurso marino. Por el echo que existen comunidades sobreviviendo por esta parte del mar Pacifico, PESQAR le da tanta importancia a las vidas de los pescadores y sus familias como a la conservacion y ecologia. Formo parte de NAZCA y Proyecto PESQAR y estare viviendo en la Reserva. Mi enfoque personal sera el lado de PESQAR metido en los temas socio-economicas y el desarrollo de las communidades. PESQAR tiene una variedad de metas para la zona, desde maneras de pescar mas responsables hasta aumentar la eficiencia del proceso comercial. Cada una de estas metas esta tan dedicado a la conservacion y salud de la Reserva como al mejoramiento de las vidas de los pescadores y sus comunidades. No falta trabajo para hacer, y hare lo posible para tener esta pagina al dia.

I hope she calls.
Espero que ella me llame.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Quito - 2.2010

I had a few days to explore the capital city of Quito before heading out for the race and before beginning with Project PESQAR. The city is one of about 1,300,000 people that sits in the cradle of a Andean valley at 2,800 meters. The main attraction in Quito is it´s old colonial center. The city was one of UNESCO´s 2 original World Heritage sites. The center is filled with cathedrals, cobble stone streets, and colonial architecture. There is a great wealth of Catholic cathedrals due to the fact that those who came to Quito from Europe during the plague were healed from the disease. The European churches began to build as fast as they could, believing that a holy miracle was occuring in Quito relative to the plague. It was later discovered that Quito´s high altitude was the right medicine. Click to view Quito´s wiki page.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Huarasinchi Adventure Race

My week in Quito prior to departing for the coast to begin work with Project PESQAR and the NAZCA Institute, happened to coincide with the Huairasinchi Adventure Race, the world's highest adventure race. Some of you may remember I used to have another Huaira in my life. Huaira, or Wayra, means wind in the South American indigenous language of Quechua. I have read about these types of races before, as a result of my own interests, but was quickly turned away by learning even the first details of the length and difficulty these things entail. This particular race is a 350 km 48+ hrs combination of trekking, mountain biking, orienteering, rapelling, kayaking, and self-loathing. The hostel I was posted up in was also housing a few of the teams, including Buff's the defending champion. Over a couple of hostel breakfasts with the Albert (Spn) and Benjamin (French), I decided finding a way to follow the race for the weekend would be an ideal use of the remainder of my free time in Quito. The only problem was, you cant just go spectate these races and then drive back home that night; if your'e going to watch, your'e pretty much in for the long haul. Conveniently, Albert and Benjamin had a friend whose production company was going to be filming the race and had some extra room in one of the SUVs.

La semana que estuve en Quito antes de irme para la costa y empezar mi trabajo con Proyecto PESQAR y el Instituo NAZCO, coincidio con la Carrera de Aventura Huairasinchi, la mas alta del mundo. Algunos de ustedes probablemente se acuerdan de otra Huaira que ya yo tenia en la vida. Huaira, o Wayra, es la palabra para el viento en Quechua. Ya habia leido algo de carreras asi, porque me interesaban, y rapidamente deje el tema despues de aprender solo el minimo de las distancias y locuras que son. Esta carrera consiste de 350 km y 48+ horas de kayak, navigation, trekking, bicicleta de montana, cuerdas, y odiarse mismo. En el hostal en cual me estaba quedando tambien habian unos de los competidores de la carrera; incluyendo el equipo de Buff's, los ganadores del ano pasado. Despuse de unos desayunos juntos con Albert (Esp) y Benjamin (Francia) decidi que seguir a la carrera seria el mejor uso del tiempo libre que me quedaba antes de perderme en la costa. Seguir a la carrera me dio una gran oportunidad de conocer cosas afuera de Quito y cosas que casi ningun viajero va a conocer. Pero, no es facil seguir a las carreras como fanatico, no se puede ir a ver unas horas y volver a la cama en casa...Si lo vas a seguir, lo seguis hasta que termine. Por suerte, Albert y Benjamin tenian una amiga de los anos antes que iba a cubrir la carrera por su productora, Deporvida, que hace producciones audio visuales de todos tipos de deportes. Es muy muy buena gente, y me dijo que tenian un poquito de espacio extra en una de las camionetas para un gringuito largo.