The event which took place in the Cojimíes fish ponds and was attended by numerous prominent figures and others in person and via video-conference.
In his speech, Fr Juan Cárdenas, Rector of the Salesian Polytechnic University, underlined the collaborative and innovative nature of the project developed on a cooperative model with those of land. "Our task, as a university, is not only to provide professional technical training, but also to truly educate and to help people build their life’s mission, so that we will have individuals who are capable of fulfilling their societal responsibility," he said.
Caterina Bertoloni, the Italian ambassador to Ecuador, referred to the social and environmental impact of the project, which will contribute to reducing the effects of climate change and promote employment of women and young people in the fishing sector utilizing traditional methods in Manabí.
Sergio Trevisani, public administration official of the municipality of San Benedetto del Tronto, who was accompanied by the strategic allies of the project, expressed his joy at the start of the project; while Agustin Zimmerman, FAO official, referred to its importance, as it is aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals and Objectives of the United Nations 2030 Agenda.
Jéssica Quiñonez, representative of the beneficiary communities pointed out that “one of the qualities of us fisherfolk is patience since no one could fish in anger. We are strong and courageous. This project opens up a horizon of hope and motivates us to continue in the struggle with hope. We are fisherfolk since birth. We go out to sea in good and bad weather for the love of our family. I know this project will be a success and will cross borders.”
Finally, the Prefect of Manabí, Leonardo Orlando, thanked the Salesian Polytechnic University for carrying out this project and for making available the necessary resources and institutional support.
In this first phase, the project plans to activate an innovative model of participatory governance that will involve the fishing communities located along the estuary of the Cojimíes river, La Chorrera and Canoa in the fishing sector utlizing traditional fishing methods. At the same time, through the participation of the University of Ferrara and the Salesian Polytechnic University, plans will be developed and implemented to reduce the environmental impact of the fishing and aquaculture sector. They will focus on the areas of intervention, introducing technological innovation and promoting of the aggregation of scientific and business knowledge in order to create a reference system for the fishing sector.
The strategic allies of this proposal are: the Salesian Polytechnic University, the municipal authorities of Manabí, the Municipality of Pedernales, the Municipality of San Benedetto del Tronto, the "Terra Di Siena Lab" agency, the "Blu Marine Service" Cooperative and the University of Ferrara and the NGO “COSPE”.