World’s largest fishery angles for sustainability



Posted on 03 September 2009  | 
Fisheries on pacific coast of Perù.
© Hartmut Jungius / WWF-CanonEnlarge
Lima, Peru: Peruvian anchovy fishers – who pull in 10% of the total fish catch in the world – for the first time will be independently monitored, ensuring the sustainability of stocks.

Peruvian anchovy (Engraulis ringens) is a major Peruvian export, with a value in excess of US$ 1.7 billion in 2008, equivalent to 70% of national fish exports for the entire country. In recent years, the government has gradually improved the management of anchovy stocks by creating standards and quotas, but this new monitoring system will greatly bolster those efforts.

The Peruvian government earlier this month signed an agreement which formalized the establishment of the first Peruvian Observatory to regulate its fishing industry, run by universities Cayetano Heredia and del Pacifico, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), WWF and the Instituto del Mar Peruano (IMARPE). This observatory aims to implement a monitoring system that will strengthen and complement the technical capabilities of the government to ensure sustainable management anchovy stocks.

“I’m sure that with this development we’ll have the world’s best fishery and not just the largest," said the Minister of Production of Peru, Dr. Mercedes Araoz.

By providing free access to fisheries data for the scientific community and, the general public, the new Observatory will better allow for the implementation and enforcement of the “maximum established catch per boat” set previously by the government. Furthermore, it will help to 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.

"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 towards 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.

In addition to driving this initiative with the del Pacifico and Cayetano Heredia local universities and TNC, WWF Peru is currently contributing to the design and implementation of the operating system of the Observatory which will eventually work as an online platform with accurate technical information on the implementation of quotas, seasons and other aspects relevant to this activity. Also, the group will work in coordination with IMARPE to ensure maximum benefit from this system that, since it addresses the issue of transparency in the fishing industry, constitutes a necessary step on the path towards an eventual certification of Peruvian anchovy fishery by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).

Fisheries on pacific coast of Perù.
© Hartmut Jungius / WWF-Canon Enlarge

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