Las Historias Detalladas (Basados en visitas de campo y entrevistas extensas)

Las Historias Cápsulas

  • EUA – Minnesota – Restauración del Lago Rojo – Indígenas Norteamericanos restauran arroz silvestre y peces nativos (walleye) en su reserva.
  • EUA – Estado de Washington – Acuicultura Marina de la Nación Lummi – Indígenas Norteamericanos rescatan su reserva con el eco-desarrollo.
  • Canadá – British Columbia – Cultivo Sustentable de Ostiones – El cultivo de ostiones diversifica la economía y genera incentivos para la protección ambiental.
  • Islas Fiji y CookRestauración de la Pesquería Costera – Reservas y vedas restauran a una pesquería costera en deterioro.
  • México – Sonora – La Pesca Sustentable de los Seris – Los indios Seri se desfrutaron de sus derechos territoriales tradicionales en el Mar de Cortéz para desarrollar una sustentable pesquería de peces y moluscos tales como el callo de hacha.

EUA – Minnesota – Restauración del Lago Rojo

by Regina Gregory

The Red Lake Band of the Chippewa Tribe lives on an 837,000-acre reservation in northern Minnesota, an area about the size of Rhode Island. The band takes its name from the reservation’s Red Lake, one of the biggest freshwater lakes in the U.S.

The traditional staple food of the Chippewa is wild rice, which once grew in abundance in the marshes around Red Lake. It is a 5-foot-tall aquatic plant native only to North America. In late August – the Wild Rice Moon – the Chippewa paddled canoes into the marshes to harvest the rice. The harvesting method included knocking some grains back into the lake to sustain future harvests, and leaving some grains on the plants as food for birds.

In the 1930s, when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began impounding two nearby rivers, the tribe’s major rice-producing areas were destroyed or heavily damaged. Most people on the reservation no longer go “ricing” at all. But the band is trying to restore some of the old rice stands, and has purchased 2,500 acres next to the reservation for a commercial wild rice farm.

Besides making money for the band, the wild rice farm provides critical habitat for a large number of species. Eighteen species of ducks and geese eat wild rice and other plants that grow in the rice paddies. The dense vegetation provides ample nesting sites for bitterns and teals, and when the paddies are drained in late summer, the mudflats serve as stopover areas for godwits, yellowlegs, phalaropes and other shorebirds.

Red Lake also once teemed with fish, in particular walleyes. In 1917 tribal members launched a commercial fishery with gillnets on their portion of the lake, in addition to subsistence fishing. In the portion governed by the state of Minnesota, sport fishing by the general public flourished. Eventually people were taking more fish than the lake could provide, and harvests plummeted.

The Red Lake Band realized the walleye needed time to recover. In 1997 the tribe halted commercial fishing, and in 1998 stopped subsistence and sport fishing as well. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources banned walleye fishing in its portion of the lake in 1999. To augment the natural regeneration process a fish hatchery was established, and between 1999 and 2003 more than 100 million walleye fry were released into the lake.

The fish thrived, and the effort is now known as one of the nation’s most successful freshwater fish recoveries. The lake was reopened to walleye fishing, but in a cautious way to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.

For more information see Restoring a Lost Legacy in the National Wildlife Federation’s journal.

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EUA – Estado de Washington – Acuicultura Marina de la Nación Lummi

by Amanda Suutari

The Lummi Nation occupies some 12,500 acres of land and 8,000 acres of Puget Sound tidelands in the Northwest corner of Washington State, about 200 km north of Seattle.

The Lummi people have lived in Northwest Washington for about 12,000 years and there are about 4,000 members of the nation today. Fishing, especially salmon, has been the basis of their culture and survival, with ceremonies and folklore centered around salmon and salmon fishing. According to Lummi legend, a deity known as the Great Salmon Woman tells them that if they only take the salmon they need and protect the spawning areas, the salmon will thrive; this teaching has shaped their relationship with the salmon and its habitat throughout the generations.

The last decade has seen dramatic drops in salmon stocks all over the Pacific Northwest, with two of the four salmon species considered endangered. This has been due to logging of headwater areas, small dams on salmon streams, ground and water pollution from industry and agricultural wetlands, and inappropriate development of wetlands. The Lummi Nation maintains the largest Native American fishing fleet in the Pacific Northwest, and the most extensive fisheries protection program in the region. Many of its highly qualified tribal fisheries technicians and specialists were trained at Lummi Community College or Lummi School of Aquaculture. The fisheries department has an annual budget of 3 million dollars and overseas one of the country’s most successful productive salmon hatcheries in the US.

The goals of the program are to sustainably manage fisheries stocks, including protection of salmon spawning habitat, conducting salmon counts in many small river tributaries near Nooksak Basin, monitoring the return and harvest of salmon and increasing production of hatcheries, pursuing new and stricter laws to protect salmon habitat, and launching an aggressive public education campaign to better inform the public of the importance of salmon as a sustainable source of livelihood. It also manages an extensive shellfish hatchery in the Puget Sound tidelands.

The Lummi Nation is also represented on the International Salmon Commission, among whose goals are to regulate activities of offshore driftnet fisheries. It is a model for involvement of indigenous peoples in planning and management of natural resources, both local and internationally, and its traditional values, such as “generational time” (the impact of today’s policies on distant future generations) and management practices have great potential to influence fisheries management policy at the state or national level.

The Lummi Nation also has launched a variety of social programs such as a mobilization against drugs, education and youth programs, and a wellness program aimed at improving physical and mental health.

For more informtaion visit the Lummi Indian Nation.

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Canadá – British Columbia – Cultivo Sustentable de Ostiones

by Amanda Suutari

This case is interesting because it is a radical departure from the boom-bust cycles characterizing Canadian Pacific Coast economies and ecosystems since the early 1900s. These include whaling, sealing, mining, sardine canning, and logging.

Clayoquot Sound includes coastal temperate rainforest, rivers, lakes, marine areas and beaches, and is home of the Nootka first nations peoples. It is best-known as being the focal point of one of the country’s largest civil society campaigns to stop industrial logging, culminating in 1993 when the provincial government allowed logging of old-growth forest in the region. Activists organized blockades and other acts of civil disobedience which finally resulted in the region being declared a World Biosphere Reserve in 2000. (However, critics are skeptical of this because “reserve” does not legally protect the resources. Environmentalists insist that the same companies under changed names are using the sanitized euphemism of “conservation-based forestry” to continue industrial logging in a form virtually unchanged, which has lulled people into the belief that the area is protected.)

Anyway, as the economy searches for solutions to wean itself off its past addictions to resource extraction, aquaculture of shellfish began growing in the region since 1985 as a way to diversify the economy. An important difference between farming of shellfish (mainly oyster but also scallops and clams) and what has gone before is that it depends on a pristine marine ecosystem to thrive. It requires fertile water, good currents, and nutrients, including leaf litter from the shore, which means the marine ecosystem is recognized to include the neighboring terrestrial ecosystem. Because they grow in such good conditions, the oysters themselves are said to be of very high quality. In fact, shellfish farms have had to close a few times by law after heavy rainfall when fecal levels in the inlets where they are raised are too high. The practice itself is low-impact and relatively pollution-free (it does have some impacts and must be monitored carefully). The sector is expected to expand by up to three times by 2007.

This is another illustration of how markets can shape long-term preservation of a resource (as in silvofisheries in Malaysia, tree frogs in Peru, agroforestry in China’s upper Yangtze watershed) as much as they were incentives for earlier short-sighted use of resources through the same pattern of discovery, exploitation, and depletion. Finally it shows some residents have learned important lessons after watching history repeating itself for a century.

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Islas Fiji y Cook – Restauración de la Pesquería Costera

by Amanda Suutari

The decline of the region’s fishery (especially the kaikoso, a species of clam important to local subsistence and livelihood) was caused by various factors including overfishing, mangrove destruction, reef blasting, night fishing and foreign fishers.

When villagers of the Veratavou region and a local non-governmental organization got together to find solutions to the problem, they created a list of rules; they banned blasting, gill nets, and mangrove cutting around the lagoon, stopped issuing licenses to foreign fishers, and designated “tabu,” or no-take, reserves in designated areas in the lagoons.

Results were immediete and dramatic. The kaikoso increased up to three times in the protected areas, there was a spillover effect into non-protected areas, and other vanished species, including a local delicacy, made reappearances. Residents reported up to 35% increased incomes (some of which goes into a collective trust fund for eight villages, which has been invested into electrification projects). Coastlines are expected to be more resilient to cyclones or other natural disturbances. Community cohesion is increased, and interest in science and tradition among young people has also improved.

Services restored/improved: Food/income, storm protection, cultural heritage values/knowledge systems

This case is similar to what happened in Fiji. The Cook Islands in the South Pacific are populated by indigenous Koutu Nui, whose way of life depends on coastal resources, especially the trochus (their shellfish staple source of subsistence and income).

Similar to Fiji, the Raratonga islanders’ fishery was on the decline due to overfishing; fishers were going out further to chase increasingly fewer and less diverse species of seafood; trochus harvests were shrinking.

The elders in Raratonga, alarmed, decided to re-introduce the traditional no-take system known as raui. Unlike Fiji, these are temporary reserves which are instituted or lifted according to season, harvests, and other conditions. Bans on net fishing and night fishing were installed. The local churches, strong social centers for the Koutu Nui people, endorsed the program, which helped strengthen the commitment of villagers. Results were equally dramatic: Trochus populations have exploded, diversity of sea life has rebounded, corals have increased. It has given way to other plans, including bringing local schools to study the life in the lagoon.

Services restored/benefits: food/fiber, ornamental resources (trochus shells), recreation and tourism, education

For more information visit the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme.

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México – Sonora – La Pesca Sustentable de los Seris

por David Nuñez

Los Seri (o Comcaac) son un pueblo indígena que hasta hace pocas décadas aun practicaba una vida semi-nómada de caza y pesca en las islas del Mar de Cortéz, al Noroeste de México.  Las guerras de exterminación por parte de los Españoles y de México Independiente (las hostilidades duraron hasta principios del siglo XX), los llevaron al borde de la extinción y hoy en dia solo quedan alrededor de seiscientos.

En los 1930s el gobierno federal abandonó su política de exterminación y reubicación y en vez intentó asentar a los Seri en dos aldeas dentro de su territorio histórico, El Desemboque y Punta Chueca, facilitando la formación de una cooperativa pesquera.  Se impulsó la pesca de tiburón, particularmente para la extracción de vitaminas de sus hígados.  Sin embargo, con el desarrollo de la producción sintética de vitaminas en los 1940s, la pesquería colapsó y los Seris buscaron una alternativa en la caza de tortugas marinas, que para los 1980s, fue prohibida.  Mientras tanto, durante los 1970s un grupo de foraneos descubrió una lucrativa pesquería de callo de hacha frente a su costa, lo cual atrajo migrantes a la región.

En un esfuerzo por corregir los males del pasado y permitirle a los Seri sobrevivir, el gobierno Mexicano otorgó a los Serí una fracción de su territorio histórico en 1975.  El ejido incluye la Isla Tiburón y la costa frente a la misma, asi como derechos exclusivos de pesca en las aguas circundantes. Lamentablemente los límites marinos jamás fueron definidos y ante la falta de vigilancia por parte de las autoridades, la Zona Pesquera Exclusiva de los Seris fue limitada al Canal del Infiernillo, entre la Isla y la Costa, que por su estrechez permite a la comunidad controlar el acceso.

Libre de intervención gubernamental en sus asuntos, la comunidad Seri ha desarrollado una serie de reglas que ha permitido mantener constante la captura dentro del canal durante los últimos 30 años, mientras que la productividad de pesquerías mayores vecinas se ha colapsado en hasta un 90%.  La gestión exitosa de esta pequeña pesquería finalmente ha sido reconocida por sus vecinos, y las lecciones aprendidas se están aplicando a comunidades aledañas.

Aunque se capturan varias especies de pez, crustáceo y molusco dentro del canal, la pesca del callo de hacha nos brinda un buen ejemplo de como los Seri utilizan información social, cultural y biológica para gestionar efectivamente su pesquería.

Algunos Seri participan el la pesca comercial del callo de hacha, pero la mayoría prefiere no bucear por lo que permiten a foráneos realizar la mayor parte de la pesca del callo.  Para otorgarles permiso de acceso al canal, los foráneos deben 1) pagar una cuota de entrada, 2) contratar a un Seri en su tripulación al mismo sueldo (esto además de brindar empleo, permite a los Seri vigilar a los foráneos), 3) abstenerse de pescar en los bancos de arena que son para uso exclusivo de la pesca de subsistencia mencionada a continuación, y 4) aceptar los límites de captura indicados.

La pesca de subsistencia del callo de hacha es una actividad tradicional que se lleva a cabo durante las mareas más bajas del año, cuando las aguas someras permiten la recolección de callos por parte de mujeres y niños sin necesidad de bucear. Históricamente es un evento de gran importancia cultural y social para la comunidad Seri, y además sirve para monitorear la salud general de la población de callos.  Cuando la cosecha es pobre, las repercusiones sociales pueden ser severas: las mujeres pueden humillar públicamente a los hombres por su descuido con el preciado recurso, y los hombres a su vez culpan a los foráneos y cancelan los permisos de acceso hasta que los ánimos se calmen, se recupere la cosecha, o la necesidad económica los obligue a otorgar permisos otra vez.

El conocimiento profundo de los pescadores sobre su pesquería también aporta a la sustentabilidad de la misma.  Al capturar solo los callos más grandes, aumentan la probabilidad de que cualquier animal capturado ya se haya reproducido.  Y al abstenerse de pescar en los lechos temporales de pastos marinos (por ser más complicado el trabajo, y llevar mayor riesgo de pisar rayas o cangrejos) garantizan que por lo menos un 10% del canal repose durante 8 meses al año.  Finalmente, los Seri son muy concientes de la abundancia y tamaño de su cosecha y rotan los lugares de pesca de manera regular. Algunos sitios son visitados varias veces al año, mientras otros solo se visitan una vez en varios años.

Su éxito les ha permitido comenzar a enviar a sus hijos a la universidad, y en 1998 por primera vez ganó las elecciones una generación joven y eligieron como su líder a un graduado universitario.  Con estos cambios los Seri han comenzado a cooperar con ONGs y universidades, las cuales intentan replicar su modelo en otras comunidades.  Han logrado la certificación de la Marine Stewardship Council, y lanzado otras empresas, como una cooperativa artesanal en que la mujeres venden artesanías a los turistas. Además han implementado un programa de conservación de tortugas marinas que les ha ganado reconocimiento internacional.

Obviamente tenemos mucho que aprender de una de las minorías más pequeñas de México.

Para obtener más información vea Seri Comcaac Indians y Comunidad y Biodiversidad.

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