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Salango Comuna against Pesquera la Polar, Ecuador


At the beginning of the 1970s, a fish processing plant, producing fishmeal fore export, named Pesquera la Polar was installed in a fishing community named Salango in the Ecuadorian coastal region. This area would be later declared as Machalilla National Park-MNP (1979), one of the main touristic areas in the country. MNPs borders did not include the Salango Comuna. However, it did include the island under the same name and two maritime miles around it. In spite of the environmental legislation, until the 1990s the company developed its activities without the use of adequate technology to avoid or reduce the environmental impacts that directly affected the inhabitants of Salango and the MNP. As a consequence, the local people decided to organize and demand that the company introduced technological innovations in order to avoid the socio-environmental impacts.

Basic Data
Name of conflict:Salango Comuna against Pesquera la Polar, Ecuador
State or province:Manabi
Location of conflict:Salango (Puerto Lopez)
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Manufacturing activities
Specific commodities:Industrial waste
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The company is dedicated to the extraction and processing of pelagic fish mainly for the production of fishmeal and fish oil.

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Type of populationSemi-urban
Start of the conflict:1977
Company names or state enterprises:Empresa La Polar from Ecuador
Relevant government actors:Jefatura Salud Portoviejo , Ministerio Bienestar Social , Ministerio de Industrias, Comercio, Integracin y Pesca (the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Integration and Fish)., Comisin Especial Permanente Defensa Medio Ambiente (Permanent and Special Commission for the Environment Defence)., Instituto Ecuatoriano Forestal y de reas Silvestres-INEFAN (The Ecuadorian National Institute for Forests, Nature and Wildlife)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Fundacin Natura, Fundacin Norton (Museo Arqueolgico Salango)., Hostera y Fundacin Alandaluz.
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Forms of mobilization:Official complaint letters and petitions
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Soil contamination
Other Environmental impactsOcean pollution.
Fisheries reduction
Health ImpactsVisible: Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Proposal and development of alternatives:The community seeks to consolidate its development process based on the community-based ecotourism, taking advantage of the natural and cultural resources that are related to the ancient heritage of those who settled in this sector.
In this sense, they have organized around identity and territory. In 1979 they acquired the legal category of Comuna, and later in 1991 they legalized 2536 ha as collective land. In 2004 they self-identified as Ancestral Community and obtained legal recognition through the CODENPE.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:The conflict continues into the 2010s. It is a conflicts because of pollution from fishmeal, as for instance in Chimbote, Peru. Nowadays, the company has introduced equipment that allows it to reduce the negative socio-environmental impacts.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Desarrollo Eco-ilgico. Conflictos socioambientales desde la selva hasta el mar. CEDEP/Abya-Yala.

Varea, Anamara, Carmen Barrera, Ana mara Maldonado, Lourdes Endara, Byron real, Victoria Reyes, Guillermo Robalino. 1997.

El Diario, 'Salango contaminado por desechos de fábrica Polar'
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Sara Latorre
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:882
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