Interview : Adriana Giudice
How do climate conditions and regulation affect catches and export levels?
ADRIANA GIUDICE: Fisheries exports, which represented 7% of total exports in 2017, have suffered a negative impact in recent years due to regulation and weather phenomena such as El Niño. Between 2012 and 2017 fishery exports fell by 15%, or $513m. Considering that fishmeal and fish oil – which are produced exclusively from anchovies – represent 70% of total fisheries exports, the availability of this resource determines the impact of the sector’s trade balance.
Regulation ensures the efficient and sustainable exploitation of resources. Exports during the first months of 2017 were based on the output of fishmeal and oil from the second season of 2016. The first fishing season, which began in May 2017, was affected by oceanographic factors – mainly strong winds – that resulted in the industry meeting only 85% of its 2.8m quota. Despite this, there were high expectations for the following season, but a cooling of the sea, a phenomenon known as La Niña, delayed the start of the Marine Institute of Peru’s research cruise, which had reported a very large presence of juvenile anchovies. Based on this information, the Ministry of Production fixed a quota of 1.5m at the end of November 2017 – far below expectations. When initiating activities, the fishing fleet confirmed that accessible biomass for fishing was primarily juvenile anchovies, which was why it decided to return to port and wait for conditions that allowed adult schools to regroup. As a result, the year ended without catches.
The abundance of juvenile anchovies shows that, despite the climatic factors that have modified the behaviour of the resource, the anchovy biomass is healthy as they are continuing to spawn. The challenge remains to continue improving the research conducted by the government and the private sector in order to work out when to start the fishing season. It is important that the regulation has the capacity to adapt to changing weather conditions. Furthermore, there is a need to enhance scientific research, increase research and monitoring centre staff, and form a multi-sectoral scientific committee. Also important is the control and monitoring of landings to avoid deviations from raw materials. Additionally, adapting fisheries infrastructure to process different species, while continuing to boost the value of marine ingredients, is an area that can provide opportunities for private sector players.
What seafood product exports are contributing significantly to sector growth?
GIUDICE: Frozen products for direct human consumption account for 895 tonnes of exports, of which 60% are cuttlefish. Mahi-mahi (dolphinfish), hake, perico, shells, mackerel and trout are also becoming increasingly vital exports. Similarly, tuna fishing has experienced significant growth in recent years. On average, around 10,000 tonnes per year have been unloaded, 7000 tonnes more than the volume assigned to Peru in 2004 by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission. The current goal is to reach 14,000 tonnes annually.
What are the main challenges to enhancing aquaculture, and what role does research play?
GIUDICE: Aquaculture has shown significant growth in recent years. While production in 2000 was at 10,000 tonnes, in 2017 it reached 100,000 tonnes thanks to regulation. Nevertheless, production remains insufficient. In order for aquaculture to experience greater growth and take a more leading role in exports, it is necessary to invest in innovation. Again, scientific research plays a very important role in the development of the sector. The lack of information hinders investment. Innovation leads us to review the entire production chain, to control quality and prevent risks. Aquaculture also requires investment in security measures, as well as government support, which would help improve the relationship with the local communities.
You have reached the limit of premium articles you can view for free.
Choose from the options below to purchase print or digital editions of our Reports. You can also purchase a website subscription giving you unlimited access to all of our Reports online for 12 months.
If you have already purchased this Report or have a website subscription, please login to continue.