Fishmeal and fish oil are increasingly important products derived from the processing of small pelagic or other low-trophic-level species. The rising demand for fishmeal and fish oil is due to their high nutritional value, providing an easily digestible and protein-rich resource to the aquaculture and livestock sectors. This rising dependence on fish oil and fishmeal has led to sustainability challenges in the main fisheries supplying raw material. Despite improvements in sustainability made by the fish oil and fishmeal sector during the last 10 years, several fisheries around the globe still face serious challenges.

The South America sub-region concentrates some of the most important fish stocks used for the production of fish oil and fishmeal. Species used for marine ingredients in Central and South America include anchoveta, Pacific anchoveta, Araucanian herring, and jack mackerel. Stocks are mainly concentrated in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, along the coasts of Peru and Chile, where anchoveta stocks alone represent approximately 30 percent of the world’s fishmeal and fish oil production. While this roundtable was initially intended to cover the South America sub-region, its scope was broadened to all of Latin America in April 2017, with the aim of including all raw material sources used by the roundtable participants.

The Latin American Reduction Fisheries Supply Chain Roundtable (SR) focuses on monitoring sustainability status and performance of fisheries used for fishmeal and fish oil production. SFP’s approach with this project is to convene suppliers and buyers to support and encourage improvement activities and help meet market requirements.

The SR provides a platform (both physical and virtual) to discuss matters of common interest, identify fisheries where improvements are required, catalyze FIPs, explore models for financing FIPs, and develop procurement specifications promoting sustainability.

The T75 sector report for reduction fisheries details the state of the sector. According to the report, in August 2017, 7.4 million tonnes, or 41 percent of the global production in reduction fisheries, was considered sustainable or improving. The vast majority of this volume is under the Atlantic/Pacific reduction fishery sub-sector, which, if considered by itself, would have met the T75 goal already.

The Latin American Reduction Fisheries SR focuses on monitoring sustainability status and performance of fisheries used for fishmeal and fish oil production in Latin America. Much of this production is already sustainable or improving; the roundtable’s role is to shift volume from the improving to the sustainable category, and to ensure that no production is removed from these categories.

FIPs and/or Fisheries Covered:

For more details on the sustainability status of the fisheries, progress of the FIPs, and improvement recommendations, please click here.

The Latin American Reduction Fisheries SR focuses on South and Central American reduction fisheries. SFP’s FishSource database contain sustainability information on the main fish stocks supplying raw material to the marine ingredients industry.

The following FIPs are supported and monitored: 

Ecuador Small Pelagics FIP
Peruvian Anchovy Industrial Purse Seine FIP
Panama Small Pelagics FIP  

The SR is working to develop FIPs in the following fisheries:

Chile Southern Central anchovy and sardine FIP
Southern Chile sardine FIP 


Current Supply Chain Roundtable Participants include:

Cargill Aqua Nutrition Chile (EWOS)
Los Fiordos
Skretting Chile

An overview of past progress can be found here.

Improvement needs: 

  • Improved, peer reviewed, and adequately tested stock assessment models that consider environmental variables, forming the basis of the management strategies.
  • Management plans for the relevant fisheries, with specific management measures and harvest control rules that consider the role of key target species in the ecosystem.
  • Specific management objectives and harvest strategies for the different stocks.
  • Improved intergovernmental coordination in science and management, which is key for transboundary stocks.
  • Improved knowledge of the ecosystem needs and the interactions of the key fisheries with the ecosystem.
  • Improved data-gathering systems. Data needs include improved reporting of catches and discards, as well as interactions with habitats and non-target species. 

Current objectives:

  • Review status of relevant reduction fishery stocks in South and Central American waters and identify improvement needs.
  • Identify improvement work underway and in need of additional support.
  • Discuss future partnership and cooperation opportunities to improve key fisheries.
  • Encourage industry to initiate fishery improvement projects (FIPs) where improvements are still needed.
  • Monitor and support good progress of FIPs already underway.
  • Provide briefings on emerging sustainability issues in the region that may impact supply, certification, corporate reputation, and other areas important to the seafood industry. 

Action recommendations for the supply chain:

  • Advocate for the development of annual stock assessments that incorporate improved catch data and consider the effects of environmental variability on the population. Stock assessment results should be peer reviewed and publicly reported.
  • Request relevant government authorities to develop/support current ongoing efforts to develop long-term management plans for the different stocks, with explicit harvest strategies and reference points that take into account the role of the key target species in the ecosystem.
  • Work with scientists and managers to enhance current available knowledge of the ecosystem needs, along with ecosystem interactions including, among others, improved reporting of catches and discards, as well as interactions with habitats and all types of non-target species.
  • In those cases where management plans have already been developed, encourage and support prompt implementation.
  • Encourage government authorities to establish coordinated fishery research and management plans for transboundary stocks.
  • Engage in specific FIPs if you or any of your suppliers source fishmeal from these fisheries.

If you would like more information about the Supply Chain Roundtable or wish to support it, please contact Renato Gozzer.

A full summary of past progress, including details from past quarterly updates, can be found here

Quarterly Latin American Reduction Fisheries SR Update -  January to June 2019

This briefing provides an update on progress, activities, and news in the areas of interest to the SR. It also indicates any actions and further support needed. 

1. Improvements in Target 75 Priority Fisheries

Please find an overview of fisheries identified in the T75 Reduction Fisheries Sector Report, including those currently not necessarily prioritized by the SR here.

Northern Chile Anchovy:

Update: A representative of theApplied Research Center of the Sea(Centro de Investigación Aplicada del Mar – CIAM) presented to the SR the Center’s actions for improving the sustainability of the fishery, as well as the following main problems/challenges of the fishery:

(1) A need to increase coordination with Peru for the management of the anchoveta shared stock.

(2) Weaknesses in the stock assessment method used in Chile: the model does not consider environmental factors, the impact of ENSO events, the impacts of fishing on the other marine resources, etc.

The SR members agreed to the following actions:

  • The SR members will send a letter to SUBPESCA Chile with a position statement about the need to work together with Peru in the stock assessment.
  • SFP will coordinate with IFOP and SUBPESCA to propose a consultancy for improving the stock assessment model.

Further support needed: Support the industry in their efforts to reduce the impacts on ETP species, habitats, and ecosystems, to comply with Principle 2 of the MSC requirements.

Ecuadorian Small Pelagics:

Update: Several relevant goals have been reached, including:

(1) Development and assignment of the FIP representatives and final governance structure, including a General Assembly, a Board of Directors, and a FIP coordinator. The National Fisheries Chamber (CNP) will legally represent the FIP and carry out the administrative FIP tasks.

(2) All of the FIP participants will fund project implementation.

(3) The hydro-acoustic survey using industry vessels was concluded and shared with an external scientist. As a consequence, the first stock assessment results were presented to the government and stakeholders for the nine species covered by the project.

(4) Thanks to the support provided by the stock assessment scientist, CNP identified the relevant profiles for new hires to contribute to the work of the National Fisheries Institute. Currently, recruitment is in process: recruitment is in process

(5) The industry FIP participants developed a dedicated website for the FIP:

Further support needed: SR to leverage other FIP participants to make the FIP public, preferably through

Chile Southern Central Anchovy and Sardine:

Update: The SR participants are interested in exploring the possibility of starting a FIP to move forward toward MSC certification of the mixed stock of anchovy and sardine from the III to X Chile regions.

Further support needed: Connect SFP with fishmeal producers to explore interest in catalyzing the FIP in the fishery.

2. Support to Established FIPs and Improvement Efforts

Please find an overview of all existing FIPs and improvement efforts, their current progress ratings, and status here.

Update: Currently all established FIPs are rated A-C.

No further support needed.

3. Support for Mitigation of Overarching Fishery/FIP Sustainability Issues

Relevant news: SUBPESCA considers the stock as overexploited, but there is evidence that the stock assessment model is not suitable: environmental factors are not considered in the model, and adaptive management strategies are not put in place to manage the fishery.

In January, during the first SR meeting of 2019, SFP committed to coordinate with IFOP and SUBPESCA to propose a consultancy for improving the stock assessment model. Several coordination meetings and calls were held with key personnel from SUBPESCA who expressed interest in getting support to improve stock assessment models.

A first draft of the policy brief "Peru: short-term development of fisheries policy - improving the legislative basis of fisheries management" was developed proposing improvement in three main issues of Peruvian fisheries: legislative inadequacies, the need for more scientific advice, and the need for more effective monitoring control and surveillance.

In February, OCEANA released a report about the illegal flows to produce fishmeal and fish oil with anchoveta sourced by the artisanal and "smaller-scale" Peruvian fleet. The three illegal methods of fishmeal production that were presented to the SR members are: (1) production of illegal fishmeal using a legal processing plant, (2) production using an illegal processing plant, and (3) artisanal illegal production in "pampas" (open field). As a solution, the research recommends increasing the transparency of this activity by making public information about the production of residual fishmeal in Peru and how the raw material is supplied to each processing plant.

Further support needed: Convene Peruvian residual fishmeal plants to participate in a meeting to discuss the flows of illegal fishmeal here in Peru.

4. Expansion of the SR

Update: A regular SR meeting was held in Santiago, Chile, on January 16, 2019. Representatives of all current SR participants (Skretting, Vitapro, Los Fiordos, and Cargill) attended the full-day event. The meeting was divided into several sessions. During the first session, the results of two reports were presented, namely the T75 report with emphasis on fisheries in the Latin American region and SFP’s Reduction Fisheries Sustainability Overview 2018, released in the last quarter of 2018.

An overview of the FIPs covered by the Supply Chain Roundtable, including FIP updates, was also presented. These included updates on the Ecuador small pelagics FIP, where all concerned SR participants are co-funding the initiative (with the exception of Los Fiordos, as the company does not buy product from Ecuador). Cargill, which recently opened a processing plant in Ecuador, had been encouraged to join at previous meetings, and expressed its plan to join the FIP during this SR meeting. A prioritization exercise was carried out to analyze priority fisheries for the SR to focus on until 2020. Other sessions during the SR meeting were mostly focused on small pelagic fisheries of Peru and Chile. The Prezi presentation is available here.

Further support needed: Current SR participants to send relevant staff from different countries to SR meetings, or ensure that staff with regional coverage attend SR meetings.