Fishermen, entrepreneurs and authorities embrace initiatives towards the sustainability of the Mahi mahi fishery
• Peru is the leading country in the Eastern Pacific Ocean with regards to Mahi mahi landing volumes.
While one of the most strained debates in Peruvian history unfolds regarding the anchovy (Engraulis ringens) fishery, another marine species is having a contrary, positive effect. We are referring to “Perico” (Coryphaena hippurus), a fish which did not receive much value from Peruvians a decade ago, yet now increasingly appears in daily diets. Furthermore, it is currently exported to the United States, where it is called “Mahi mahi”.
Despite the increasing popularity of the Mahi mahi and the resulting increase in its demand being good news for those that depend on its harvest and trade, it also means that the increasing pressure placed on the resource could endanger its availability in the future, all while affecting the associated marine ecosystem and having a high impact on families who depend on such activity.
Facing this situation, WWF is currently joining efforts alongside different stakeholders involved in Mahi mahi fishing – artisanal fishermen, entrepreneurs, government institutions and Civil Society – for the implementation of a Fishery Improvement Project (FIP). The workshop “Towards Mahi mahi Sustainability” was carried out last March 21st and 22nd, as part of this work. In this event, an Action Plan was developed to obtain MSC certification (Marine Stewardship Council) for the fishery.
For Biologist Samuel Amorós, Marine Program Specialist of WWF Peru, this event is “an important step towards Mahi mahi sustainability and a clear example for Peruvian fishermen, since it shows how different stakeholders with multiple interests can work together, have proper dialogues and address proposals for the proper management of our fisheries.”
Wendy Goyert, from the Major Buyer Initiative of WWF US Fisheries Program also attended this event. She explained why it is so important for Peru to certify their Mahi mahi fishery: “many of the largest and most important major buyers, retailers, and food service providers in the United States have committed to sourcing from MSC certified fisheries or those in FIPs. Some of them have also committed to supporting the Peruvian mahi mahi FIP.” This means that if Peru does not advance this fishery´s sustainability (through MSC or FIP), many current and potential clients will look to obtain their supply from other countries.
Marine Stewardship Council – MSC
A key way to foster fishery sustainability is through the implementation of international certification standards that ensure good exploitation practices, processing and trade of fishery resources, such as those fostered by the Marine Stewardship Council – MSC.
This certification meets the highest environmental criteria and the strictest assessments. In this regard, it is important to highlight those different countries and companies around the world currently only purchase MSC certified products. This means that the market is the driving force for change among fisheries with high international demand.
Fact: There are 190 existing fisheries of crustaceans, mollusks, and fish certified by MSC, of which none are in Peru.