High Peru anchovy quota helps Japanese fish farmers

Published on
May 18, 2017

The high anchovy catch quota set by the Peruvian government for the spring fishing season that runs from 22 April and through July should give a boost to Japanese fish farmers. The total allowable catch of 2.8 million tons is the highest in six years. 

Anchovies are the main ingredient of fish meal, as well as of fish oil, which are main ingredients of aquaculture feed and Peru has the world's largest catch, making Peruvian prices the benchmark. 

According to Japan’s Fisheries Agency, feed accounts for about 70 percent of the cost to produce farmed fish. While some feeds contain a high percentage of soy, eel and yellowtail feeds especially use a lot of fish meal, so the cost of fishmeal can strongly affect their market price. 

The Japanese import price from Peru in late April was between JPY 180,000 and 185,000 (USD 1,582 and 1,625, EUR 1,452 and 1,492) per metric ton, 10,000 to 20,000 yen cheaper than at the same time last year. In 2016, delivered prices in Japan in early November were around JPY 190,000 (USD 1,669, EUR 1,669) per MT, about 20 percent below those of the previous year, in which El Niño strongly affected the stock. 

If the whole quota can be utilized, fishmeal prices can be expected to move lower. However, in some cases the whole quota cannot be caught. In the fall season of 2016, anchovy congregated further offshore than usual, leading to longer trips and less efficient fishing. 

Also in that season, eight fishing areas were closed after up to 50 percent of the catch was found to consist of juveniles. Regulations allow for closure of an area when the level is over 10 percent. In this spring season, fishing began off the central and northern coasts of Peru while the presence of juveniles means some areas remain closed.

Contributing Editor reporting from Osaka, Japan

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