Peru closes the 2nd anchoveta season 2022 without reaching the planned quota

Peru closes the 2nd anchoveta season 2022 to safeguard the reproductive process. Photo: Produce / Gobierno de Perú.
Peru closes the 2nd anchoveta season 2022 to safeguard the reproductive process. Photo: Produce / Gobierno de Perú.

The Peruvian Ministry of Production (Produce, in its Spanish acronym) closed the second anchoveta and white anchoveta fishing season of 2022. In Ministerial Resolution No. 000043-2023-PRODUCE, dated February 3, 2023, the Peruvian authority ordered the closure of the fishery this season even though the planned quota had not yet been reached. The mandate also ordered that anchoveta unloading should take place within 24 hours of the end of the season – the official time was 00:00 hours on February 5 – while processing would have up to 48 hours.

Differences between the government and industrial fishermen

Only a few days before taking this decision, Produce had reported that, as of January 26, 80% of the expected volume of juvenile bycatch had already been extracted. "It should be specified that in the anchoveta catch, there is a percentage of the total quota that corresponds to the bycatch of juveniles that occurs randomly, depending on the spatial distribution of the resource. This measure allows fishing activity to take place and at the same time the biomass of the anchoveta is protected", the Peruvian Ministry of Production explained at the time.

According to the release, the average daily incidence of juveniles to date has been decreasing as expected, "due to compliance with the fishing quota of the vessels and also to the strengthening of the implementation of management measures aimed at their protection, such as the immediate closures of various areas in the event of a high incidence of juveniles".

However, several local media warned that the country's industrial fishermen were asking the Ministry to immediately close the anchoveta season because, according to them, quantities of juvenile anchoveta were being extracted over the regulatory percentage. The professionals point out that such overfishing harms the mating of the species and, being unsustainable, will affect future fishing seasons.

Peruvian anchoveta, essential for the production of fish oil and fishmeal

"The incidence of juvenile fishing is greater than 50%, exceeding the historical percentage of allowable bycatch (10% of juvenile fishing)", the Sindicato de Pescadores de Chimbote y anexos (Chimbote and annexes Fishermen's Union) said in a statement, as reported by the local media La República. According to the same media, another organization, the Sindicato Único de Motoristas, Oficiales y Pescadores del Perú (SUMOPP in its Spanish acronym) said through its general secretary, Alcides Herrera Inga, that a large amount of bycatch constitutes an unacceptable depredation of the resource. As a protest measure, on February 1, both SUMOPP and other organizations marched to the Ministry of Production.

Finally, two days later, Produce issued the order to close the season. In the mandate, it can be read that the Ministry decided on the advice of the Instituto del Mar de Peru (IMARPE in its Spanish acronym). Its recommendation was "to conclude the extractive activities of the second anchoveta fishing season of the north-central stock by the end of the first week of February 2023, due to the increasing trend of the indicators of the reproductive process".

It is worth remembering the importance of Peruvian anchoveta as it is the basis for a large part of the world's production of fish oil and fishmeal. In fact, the good prospects in the sector that were marked in the last Rabobank report were largely motivated by the fact that the Peruvian Ministry of Production had announced an increase in the winter quota of 11.5% for the next season. This forecast has now been affected.

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