In Rocha, a department of Uruguay, there are two main traditional fishing communities, one is in the Rocha Lagoon which is part of the National System of Protected Areas (PNA) and the other community is on a creek called Valizas creek, which belongs to the Castillos Lagoon where approximately 35 families live. The fishermen of these communities are commercially dedicated to fish and shrimp.
Among the popular fish of these lagoons are: white croaker, black croaker, lacha, tararira, sole, ciri crab, lisa, shrimp, among others. When the penaeus paulensis shrimp harvest is carried out, more than 300 fishermen participate per lagoon and they only fish between February and May of each year, depending on the annual climatic conditions. This type of crustacean is in great demand in the cities of Montevideo and Maldonado.
The implementation of the cold storage rooms financed and managed by the local government of the Departmental Intendant Mr. Alejo Umpierrez, has led to the creation of a filleting room so that fishermen and neighbors in the area can have access to the necessary hygienic conditions to handle the product. This will allow them to work in a more hygienic way to maintain the quality of their products.
According to Emilio Rotondaro, Head of the artisanal and semi-industrial fishing division of the Rocha Municipality’s Economic Development Office, the national government has also collaborated by providing technical and financial support to empower the fishermen of these communities. In Puente Valizas, there is a local commission of neighbors (without legal status) and a recently formed cooperative of 7 members, which are very necessary to maintain these facilities in the community. They are about to establish guidelines for the use of the filleting chamber.
The Ministry of Industry, through the Directorate ofSmall and Medium Enterprises has been providing training opportunities to the fishermen in the community among other state organizations.
This will give more opportunities and independence to the fishermen instead of depending on middlemen. With the filleting chamber, local and neighboring fishermen can access the facility and prepare their fish in a more hygienic way. Running the chilling chambers without solar power is quite expensive, so they are involving the community and providing training opportunities. Once they are better organized, they will be able to raise funds to support the operation of the cooling chambers.