Peruvian anchovies seek MSC eco-label


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
July 20, 2009

The Association of Peruvian Anchovy Producers (APAP) is pursuing Marine Stewardship Council sustainability certification, Ocean Nutrition Canada (ONC) announced on Tuesday.

The Peruvian anchovy fishery is the world’s largest fishery, yielding around 7 million metric tons of fish annually, used mainly to produce fishmeal and fish oil.

ONC, which manufactures omega-3 dietary supplements and food ingredients from Peruvian fish oil and fishmeal, has worked with the APAP for more than year on preparing for the MSC pre-assessment process. The company is partly owned by Nova Scotia’s Clearwater Fine Foods.

The Walton Family Foundation, the philanthropic organization created by Wal-Mart founders Sam and Helen Walton, also helped the APAP prepare.

The APAP “has worked hard to ensure the recovery and sustainability of the anchovy fishery,” said ONC CEO Daniel Emond. “MSC certification validates the work the association has done and the sacrifices its members have made in not only saving this fishery, but in keeping it healthy and thriving for more than 35 years.”

The fishery dates back to the early 1950s, when anchovies were caught mainly for human consumption. The fishery collapsed in the early 1970s due to overfishing, and the Peruvian government adopted strict fishing restrictions to better manage the harvest. Despite frequent El Niño events in the 1990s, the fishery has remained stable over the past four decades, according to ONC.

More than 150 fisheries worldwide are engaged in the London-based MSC program, with 50 certified, 108 under assessment and 20 to 30 in confidential pre-assessment. Collectively, the fisheries represent more than 5 million metric tons of seafood.

Two weeks ago, the Pelagic Freezer-Trawler Association’s North East Atlantic mackerel harvest became the 50th fishery worldwide to earn MSC certification.

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