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: 

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

  • Chile Southern Central anchovy and sardine     
  • Southern Chile sardine

Current Supply Chain Roundtable Participants include:

Cargill Aqua Nutrition Chile (EWOS)
Skretting Chile

Improvement needs, objectives, and action recommendations for 2020 are in development, and will be published after the annual SR meeting.

Progress Update

A summary of past progress can be found in our SR Chronicles.

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.
  • 100-percent legal and traceable by-product fishmeal production.

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 (especially ETPs).
  • 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.

Project Contact

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

A summary of past progress, including highlights from past quarterly updates, can be found in our SR Chronicles

Quarterly Latin American Reduction Fisheries SR Update – January to June 2020

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: During the 2020 SR meeting on January 16, WWF Chile presented on the progress of the FIP project.

Further support needed: SR participants to reach out to their suppliers and encourage them to join the FIP. 

Peruvian Residual Fishmeal:

Update: During the 2020 SR meeting on January 16, the opportunity to catalyze improvements in the Peruvian residual fishmeal processing plants to get MarinTrust certification was presented to all SR members. The SR agreed to organize meetings during 2020 with producers of residual fishmeal to define the feasibility of establishing processes to get the MarinTrust certification in this industry. Vitapro, MarinTrust, and SFP held a first online meeting with the top Peruvian producers of by-product fishmeal, and the initiative is moving forward. This industry uses waste from small pelagic fisheries like anchoveta, but also from mahi-mahi, jumbo flying squid, and hake, which are other T75 fisheries.

No further support needed. 

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.

The SR recognized the progress of the Ecuadorian FIP, which is meeting goals within the estimated time frame and generating real improvements for the fishery. However, as the IFFO-RS improver program assesses the processing plants directly, the plants must enter the program to be pre-assessed. The SR participants encouraged the Ecuadorian fishmeal and fish oil plants to move forward with this process. SFP and SR members organized a meeting with IFFO and Ecuadorian FMFO plants to clarify the deadlines established by IFFO to complete the audits. The Ecuadorian National Chamber of Fishing (CNP) sent a letter to IFFO-RS asking for an extension of the deadline to pass the IFFO-RS audit for processing plant(s) from September to December. The letter was coordinated with SR members and FIP participants.

The first annual audit of FIP progress was successfully passed, with all milestones met on time. Additionally, the latest update of the stock assessments for the nine species covered by the FIP showed a recovery of the species. When the FIP started, the first stock assessment, based on 2017 data, estimated that 88 percent of the stocks were overexploited and 44 percent overfished. The most recent stock assessment, based on 2019 pre-COVID-19 data, shows 55 percent of the stocks overexploited and 11 percent overfished. While there is still a lot to do, this is factual evidence of the positive impacts on the water of this industry-led initiative

Further support needed: Development and implementation of a mitigation program to address bycatch of ETP species during fishing trips.

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

Relevant news: The Peruvian Policy Brief was presented to SR members during the January SR meeting. They also received a printed copy. Since the SR participants do not have much leverage in Peruvian fisheries management, there is no follow-up planned.

For the Chilean Policy Brief, an online survey of key stakeholders was distributed to identify improvement priorities in Chilean fishery management. The final version of the brief has been produced and it was shared with the SR members with the quarterly update report.

No further support needed. 

4. Expansion of the SR

Update: The 2020 Latin American Reduction Fisheries Supply Chain Roundtable meeting was conducted on January 16 in Lima, Peru. The SR participants and SFP agreed on and defined new priorities:

  • To organize two meetings each year, instead of one
  • To include in the next SR agenda the state of progress of the North Africa small pelagics FIP (i.e., Morocco and Mauritania)
  • To organize meetings with the residual fishmeal processing plants in Chile and Peru, to determine if they want to enter into improvement programs to make their activities more sustainable.

No further support needed.