The “Five Mile law” protects Peru’s ocean abundance, biodiversity and the livelihoods of artisanal fishermen.
Peru has just achieved an important victory in the protection of the five nautical miles along its coasts. The approval of the law recognizing ancestral and artisanal fishing is a historic milestone that guarantees the protection of this zone, benefiting over 50,000 artisanal fishermen who provide 80% of the fish that feeds the Peruvian population.
It is worth noting that the first five nautical miles play a fundamental role in the life cycle of marine species inhabiting the Peruvian sea and are highly productive. These waters host the main upwelling systems in the ocean, providing vital nutrients for the reproduction and growth of the hydrobiological resources that sustain Peruvian fishing. Protecting this area is essential to preserve the abundance of our fishing resources and guarantee the employment of hundreds of thousands of Peruvians.
The law recognizes the first five nautical miles adjacent to the Peruvian coast as a protection zone and establishes the following measures:
- Prohibits large-scale fishing within the 5-mile area, without exceptions (this prohibition existed only at the regulatory level and was subject to exceptions).
- Prohibits mechanized purse-seiners of any size in the first 3 miles.
- Orders the fishing authority to approve a list of the fishing gear that will be allowed in the area, which must exclude any gear harmful to the habitat.
The law also establishes a new classification for commercial fishing, which differentiates artisanal fishing (with a predominance of manual work), from small-scale fishing (with medium-sized boats that use mechanized fishing gear). This will make it possible to design differentiated management measures for both fleets, according to their fishing power and impact on the ecosystem.
Finally, the law also includes the express mandate for the fishing quotas to be established respecting biological reference points that ensure sustainability and that must be defined by the scientific authority. In addition, it orders to take measures to recover overexploited species.
This victory would not have been possible without the active participation of the artisanal fishermen themselves. They were the main spokespeople in this campaign and were even welcomed into the legislative chamber to witness the historic vote that ended in the unanimous approval of the law.
With this new law, Peru has taken a major step towards the protection of the five nautical miles, ensuring the food and employment of millions of people.