/ WIN WIN YOUTH AWARD
SARA GUTIERREZ PLATA
The Colombian researcher Sara Gutierrez Plata is deeply engaged in restoring the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, damaged by climate-change induced high water temperatures as well as acidity and overfishing.
Coral reefs are vital for coastal protection and for aquatic biodiversity. In a project supported by the “Healthy Reefs for Healthy People”, Sara Gutierrez Plata use sustainable aquaculture as she developed methods for small-scale, low-intensity restocking of the Caribbean King Crab.
Caribbean King Crabs are efficient reef herbivores which can be used to reduce macroalgae. Macroalgae proliferation is the foremost ecological problem in the Mesoamerican Reef, affecting coral growth, recruitment, and health. The crab is of high commercial value and an excellent candidate for mariculture since it has a short larval duration, rapid growth, herbivorous diet and high site fidelity.
Through her project, Sara achieves a triple-win situation: decreasing the overgrowth of macroalgae, reducing pressure on commercial fish by engaging fishers in alternatives, and supplementing the local economy with a sustainable seafood revenue source. The ultimate goal is to design an innovative circular economy project that actively supports the restoration of herbivory and corals, improving reef health but also supporting a new sustainable productive livelihood option for local inhabitants.
The WIN WIN Youth Award 2022 is awarded to Sara Gutierrez Plata for highlighting how aquaculture must also be regarded – as a way to repair and soften the detrimental effects human behaviour has on nature.
The WIN WIN Youth Award was founded in 2018 and is an international award that aims to empower and reward young people who play an active role in the creation of a more sustainable future.
We welcome contributions from individuals, organisations and movements from all over the world, with members between the age 13 to 29. The winner of the WIN WIN Youth Award is awarded 50.000 SEK at the WIN WIN Award ceremony in Gothenburg, Sweden.
PREVIOUS YOUTH WINNERS
FORRESTED FOODS - ARIANA YUEN
MINA SHABBAKI, GÖRKEM ÖLMEZ & NINA LAM