Peruvian anchovies angle for sustainability


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
September 2, 2009

The Peruvian government has established the first Peruvian Observatory to regulate its fishing industry. The observatory will be run by universities Cayetano Heredia and del Pacifico, the Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund and Instituto del Mar Peruano.

The goal is to ensure the sustainability of Peru’s valuable anchovy fishery, the world’s largest fishery, which accounts for about 10 percent of the global seafood harvest. The Peruvian anchovy fishery yields around 7 million metric tons of fish annually and is used mainly to produce fishmeal and fish oil.

The observatory will implement a monitoring system to strengthen and complement the government’s monitoring and technical capabilities.

Peruvian anchovy (Engraulis ringens) exports exceeded USD 1.7 billion (EUR 1.19 billion) in 2008, equivalent to 70 percent of national fish exports for the entire country. Although the government in past years had gradually improved the management of anchovy stocks by creating standards and quotas, this new monitoring system will greatly bolster those efforts, according to WWF.

“This puts Peru at the forefront of the world’s fisheries because it not only shares the information of the largest fishery on the planet, but it takes an important step toward sustainability and possible certification, and even generates inputs for the conservation of Humboldt’s marine ecosystem facing climate change,” said Michael Valqui, director of WWF Peru’s Marine Program.

By providing free access to fisheries data for the scientific community and the general public, the observatory will better allow for the implementation and enforcement of the “maximum established catch per boat” previously set by the government. Furthermore, it will help assess the potential impacts of industrial fisheries and recommend best practices and strengthen the sector to improve fisheries management, ensuring the resilience of the anchovy population and the sustainability of the marine ecosystem of Peru.

Also, the observatory will help to pursue sustainable certification of the Peruvian anchovy fishery by the Marine Stewardship Council, an effort the Association of Peruvian Anchovy Producers began in July in conjunction with Ocean Nutrition Canada.

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