The celebrations this year were in the General Villamil canton; Representatives of the coastal provinces attended. They made maritime processions, raft races, sports and games. Around 2,000 people, including fishermen and relatives from the coastal provinces of Ecuador, met this Friday, June 29, in the General Villamil (Playas) canton to celebrate the Ecuadorian Fisherman’s Day.
The celebration coincides with the closing of the festivities of San Pedro and San Pablo, patrons of artisanal fishermen. The celebration began with a field Mass, followed by a procession with religious images in which some 350 boats participated and toured the waters of Playas to Engabao.
Subsequently, sports games were played, the Queen of the fishing sector was selected, raft races, competitions and public dances accompanied by fireworks and music of the town band. On this day the fishermen remembered the feats of their daily work in which they even risk their lives.
José Villacrés, one of the participants of the procession, said that 25 years ago he entered the high seas along with two other companions and that the boat was destroyed by a fishing boat and shipwrecked for two days. He attributes his survival to the help of God and his patron Saint Peter.
Gerónimo Escalante recalled that he suffered a robbery by pirates while doing his job; they beat him, they left him tied and his engine and his tools were taken away. Invoking also the protection of San Pedro, an industrial ship coincided in his path and was rescued. Fishermen’s problems are especially insecure; they suffer constant robberies by pirates.
They indicated that the industrial boats fish in the area that would belong to the artisanal fishermen. In the solemn session held in the Municipality of Playas, Gabriela Cruz, president of the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives of Ecuador (Fenacopec), delivered a proposal from the sector to Ricardo Zambrano, president of the Food Sovereignty Commission of the National Assembly, for the draft Fisheries Law.
They request that the eight nautical miles of artisanal fishing be respected. “It is not fair that industrial ships are allowed to work in our territories. It is an unfair competition, “said the leader. The proposal also calls for social security for fishermen. (I)