18 November 2011
By working together, fishermen in the Dominican Republic can create a sustainable fishing industry while protecting the local reef.
This is the message brought by Peace Corps volunteer Gabrielle Bashist, of Chino Hills, California, who is working with 40 local fishermen on the northeastern coast of the Dominican Republic.
“The fishermen realized the importance of working together, instead of having many fishermen competing among themselves,” said Bashist, a community economics volunteer who has been in the Dominican Republic since August 2010.
“They also know that because the sea has limited resources, they must find other income alternatives,” Bashist said in a November 17 Peace Corps press release.
Bashist worked with the local fisherman to form an association and establish rules to protect marine life in the bay. She also taught the fishermen management, business and leadership skills and encouraged them to sell products to local businesses.
The association soon will begin a project to repopulate the lobsters in the bay.
More than 4,220 Peace Corps volunteers have served in the Dominican Republic since the program was established in 1962. Currently, 220 volunteers serve in the country. They work in community development, health, environment, youth development and business and are trained and work in Spanish and basic Haitian Kreyol.
President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps on March 1, 1961. Throughout 2011, Peace Corps is commemorating 50 years of promoting peace and friendship around the world.
Historically, more than 200,000 Americans have served with the Peace Corps to promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of 139 host countries. Today, 9,095 volunteers are working with local communities in 75 host countries. To serve, they must be U.S. citizens at least 18 years old and agree to a 27-month commitment.