Peruvian Anchovy (northern-central stock)
Fishery Improvement Project 

Last Update: April 2014

Species: anchoveta (Engraulis ringens)
FIP Scope/Scale: Stock level
Fishery Location: Peru, for map see Peruvian anchovy
FIP Contact: If you would like more information about the FIP or wish to support the FIP, please contact SFP.
FIP Participants:
Sociedad Nacional de Pesqueria (SNP)
FIP Partners/Stakeholders:
  • IMARPE (the marine research institute of Peru – research- and science-oriented body that advises the Peruvian government on fishery resources and conservation of marine environment)
  • PRODUCE (Peru’s Ministry of Production, in charge of management)
  • Center for Development and Sustainable Fisheries (CeDePesca)
Date Publicly Announced: 2008
FIP Stage: 5, FIP is delivering improvement in the water
Current Improvement Recommendations:
  • Transparency must be increased: status of the stock seems to be good and over its limit reference points, but this information is not regularly publicly available because IMARPE did not launch its results as a public stock assessment. This information would also allow the fishing industry to improve management in their fishing operations and benefit stock sustainability.
  • Reference points are not clearly established. Limit reference point is set in regard to hydroacoustic surveys and not as emerged from stock assessment. There is no target reference point. It is claimed that current limit reference point empirically takes into consideration the whole trophic chain, but that needs to be demonstrated.
  • Direct and indirect impacts on the ecosystem components are not well enough known.
  • Small-scale fleet landings for direct human consumption have neither catch limits nor effective controls and often are misused for reduction. 
This is the single most important fishery in the world, accounting for 5 to 6 million tonnes of landings annually. The anchovy is the key piece within the southeastern Pacific ecosystem, an extremely variable environment under the influence of the Peruvian (Humboldt) current, the Cromwell current, and periodic strong El Nino and La Nina events.
This fishery has undergone some extreme collapses and amazing recoveries, so the big challenge is for it to maintain a good fishing level, while keeping the stock and the associated environment healthy.
Consistent worldwide interest in supporting this fishery has permitted SFP to take a low profile in this FIP. CeDePesca´s local representatives have been running a “training project” with a range of interested parties, including company workers, researchers, and managers, to promote the ecosystem approach and particularly to explain the methods and requirements of the MSC and the Ecological Risk Assessment on the Effects of Fishing (ERAEF).
Individual conversations and workshops have sustained this work. CeDePesca is in dialogue with the National Society of Fisheries (SNP) and government officials over improvement needs in the fishery.
Key issues in this fishery:
  • Status of the stock seems to be good and over its limit reference points, but this information is not regularly publicly available because IMARPE did not launch its results as a public stock assessment. So, transparency is an important issue.
  • Transparency is also needed for the decision-making process, where IMARPE recommendations must be translated into management rules through a known and open process.
  • Minimum size rule encourages discards of undersized anchovy. The effect of this practice is not well known but probably damaging. Research is necessary to understand this situation and possibly the need for changing this rule.
  • Reference points (RPs) are not clearly established, particularly in regard to the impacts on the trophic chain and the target reference point. There is a need also to clarify what the RPs are in regard to each environmental decadal scenario.
  • Impacts on bycatch species are not well known.
  • Indirect impacts on the trophic chain are not well enough known.
  • The private landings control has been criticized as not accurate enough. An independent audit should be conducted to end this criticism or to improve practices.
  • Artisanal landings for direct human consumption have neither limits nor controls and often are misused for reduction. Those landings have recently been estimated by CeDePesca in a letter to the government at around 10 percent of the total.
FIP Objectives:
  • Improve transparency on stock assessment and advised total allowable catch (TAC)
  • Formalize harvest strategy and correlative rules
  • Minimize illegal fishing by artisanal fleet and misreporting on harbors
  • Implement ecosystem approach and related supportive measures
Progress Update:
An MSC pre-assessment was completed in March 2010 against the FAM v2, but changes in MSC standards and continuous changes at the government level motivated the industry to wait and see if the new policies are satisfactory.
Since June 2010, an effort limit was established in Peru for the small-scale fleet. Nevertheless, fishing capacity for this fleet seems to be well above the direct human consumption demand for anchovy, creating an incentive for illegal fishing for reduction purposes out of the quota system.
CeDePesca carried out a new ERAEF workshop at IMARPE’s regional office in Huanchaco (La Libertad).  Among the attendees were representatives of the fishing companies and of artisanal fishermen organizations, IMARPE researchers, and university professors.
CeDePesca and SFP participated in the workshop “The Future of the Anchovy Fishery,” organized by the Peruvian University of Cayetano Heredia. 
WWF-Peru organized a meeting between representatives from SNP, MSC, IMARPE, PRODUCE, and the Center for Environmental Sustainability from the University of Cayetano Heredia (Centro de Sostenibilidad Ambiental - CSA).
The harvest strategy was published via IMARPE´s scientist’s papers but it has not been formalized in official documents, though periodically issued rules seem to follow such a strategy.

In September 2012, CeDePesca sent to PRODUCE and made public a statement on the measures established in Supreme Decree 005-2012-PRODUCE, indicating, among other things, that in order to avoid oversizing the smaller-scale fleet, greater accuracy is required in the regulation. The Administration responded to these observations with the issuance of Ministerial Resolution 433-2012-PRODUCE (October 9, 2012).
In October 2012, an ERAEF exercise was organized by UNOPS (Humboldt Current GEF project) and IMARPE, driven by CeDePesca staff, to understand the ecological risks associated with the anchovy fishery.
The autumn 2012 survey by IMARPE revealed a reproductive biomass of 5.4 million tonnes, the lowest level in the last 5 years, with a level of juveniles of around 47 percent. Following the recommendation of IMARPE, in October 2012 PRODUCE established a TAC of 810 thousand tonnes for the second season of 2012, which means an exploitation ratio of around 15 percent, in order to maintain the limit of 4 million tonnes in the water. The IMARPE report clearly established, for the first time, limit and target reference points for “parental biomass” (4 and 6 million tonnes, respectively). The spring of 2012 brought bad news: the IMARPE survey found just 4.2 million tonnes of reproductive biomass (RB) and PRODUCE established a minimum TAC of 810,000 tonnes for the summer season in order to maintain RB over the limit of 4 million tonnes.
In November 2012, CeDePesca sent to PRODUCE and made public a statement on the anchovy fishery that analyzes the state of the anchovy population reported by IMARPE, official information on anchovy catches, production and commercialization of fishmeal in the last 5 years, and the potential extraction of a smaller-scale fleet, which would operate under Supreme Decree 005-2012-PRODUCE. Fishery management recommendations in the statement included, among others, discouraging discards in fishing operations, improving the onboard observer program, accelerating the closure of marine areas with high-presence juvenile specimens, and setting a limit of allowable catch and ITQ system for artisanal and smaller-scale fleets (November 14, 2012).
In December 2012, PRODUCE established Supreme Decree 008-2012-PRODUCE, which introduced some improvements in fisheries management, some of which were recommendations made by CeDePesca in the statement on the anchovy fishery delivered on November 14.
January – March
A new survey, ongoing in March 2013, will determine whether the harvest strategy was good enough and define the next TAC.
April – June
In April, PRODUCE issued Ministerial Resolution N° 148-2013-PRODUCE opening the first fishing season from mid-June to July 31 in waters between parallels 8°30' and 16° S.  The fishing quota, applicable to the indirect human consumption sector, is 2.05 million tonnes.  
In May, PRODUCE issued Ministerial Resolution N° 160-2013-PRODUCE suspending fishing in waters north of parallel 8°30' S.  The suspension is applicable to all fishing fleets, including small-scale fleets.
In June, CeDePesca met with the Executive-Scientific Director of IMARPE, Andrés Chipollini, to talk about a workshop on ecosystem-based reference points for this fishery.
In June, CeDePesca met with new authorities at the National Society of Fisheries (Sociedad Nacional de Pesquería, SNP).  Among the participants was Ms. Elena Conterno Martinelli, former Minister of Production, who is now president of the SNP board.  Among the topics discussed was the latest coordinations regarding the workshop on ecosystem-based reference points that is being funded by the SNP.
In June, PRODUCE issued Ministerial Resolutions N° 197-2013-PRODUCE and N° 213-2013-PRODUCE authorizing fishing in waters north of parallel 8°30' S for all fleets.
July – September
In August, CeDePesca met with Mr. Mauro Gutiérrez, General Director of Supervision and Enforcement, and with Mr. Ezequiel Beltrán, Director of the Department of Artisanal Fishing to discuss the problem of illegal fishing by the small-scale fleet and transparency on scientific information.
In August, CeDePesca met with IMARPE's Executive Scientific Director, Mr. Andrés Chipollini, and with the technical coordinators appointed by IMARPE, Mr. Erich Díaz and Mr. Ricardo Oliveros, to draft the final agenda for the workshop to be held September 9–11.  The agenda was agreed and simultaneous translation was requested by IMARPE to facilitate interaction with international experts, Ms. Eva Plaganyi and Mr. Tim Essington. The agenda was shared with the SNP and additional funds were approved to pay for the simultaneous translation. Unfortunately, a week later, a new version dismantled the original intention, transforming the workshop into a general event about “the ecosystem management of the Humboldt Current Ecosystem” based only on conferences and without real work between scientists to advance towards EBA on the anchovy fishery. In accordance with SNP, the workshop was suspended.
In August, PRODUCE issued Ministerial Resolution N° 284-2013-PRODUCE establishing a closure period for the artisanal and small-scale fleets to protect spawning as of September 16. In order to monitor the spawning process, there are short periods when the closure is lifted to allow fishing. It should be noted that, in accordance with Supreme Decree N° 005-2012-PRODUCE, the artisanal and small-scale fleets are now fishing within 10nm from the coast, while the industrial fleet now fishes outside this 10nm-zone (the industrial fleet fishing season had ended on July 31).  
October – December
In October, CeDePesca took part in the Third Meeting of Focal Points for the implementation in Latin America of Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration (related to transparency of information).  The meeting took place October 28–31 in Lima and was organized by CEPAL, UNEP, UNITAR, and WRI-TAI.
Also in October, Ministerial Resolution N° 300-2013 established a TAC of 2.3 million tonnes for the second fishing season ending January 31, 2014.
In December, the SNP and CeDePesca started organization of a workshop on Access to Information and Transparency focused on fisheries management.  Meetings were scheduled with NGOs Proetica, Instituto DAR, Planeta Oceano, and APECO.

January – March
In January, CeDePesca started working on a program proposal for the Transparency Workshop.  The workshop could be held during the following trimester.
In February, CeDePesca held meetings with the Ombudsman Office and the SNP regarding the workshop program.
Also in February, IMARPE initiated its research cruise related to the main pelagic resources.  The cruise will end in April.
Click here for a comprehensive description of FIP results