Anchovy, Peruvian anchovy
Capture method — Purse seine
Capture area — South East Pacific (FAO 87)
Stock area — Peruvian North-Central Stock
Stock detail — Peru (Northern-Central)
Certification — [FIP Stage 4](https://fisheryprogress.org/fip-profile/peruvian-anchovy-small-scale-purse-seine)
Updated: December 2020
The Peruvian anchovy fishery occurs in the Humboldt Current System (HCS), one of the most productive ecosystems in the world. The stock is highly dependent on recruitment, which in turn changes with environmental and oceanographic conditions in the Chilean ecosystem, like El Nino and La Nina events. In response to environmental variabilities the Peruvian anchovy stocks fluctuate greatly and regularly, undergoing extreme collapses and recoveries throughout its history.
The Peruvian anchovy has a high resilience to fishing pressure. The Peruvian North-Central anchovy stock is in a healthy condition. Although, there is some uncertainty regarding the level of fishing pressure there has been high compliance to quotas which have been set in line with scientific advice since 2018. Information on the stock is not regularly publicly available and transparency is required.
There is a suite of management measures implemented by Peru, to ensure anchovy populations can rebuild. Measures include a Minimum Landing Size and Total Allowable Catch limits. However, there needs to be more transparency in the scientific advice which supports policy and management decisions, and quotas need to be made more appropriate to maintain an ecosystem balance.
Purse seining is a selective fishing gear, with little to no impact on the seabed. The fishery has low levels of bycatch. There is limited data on the impact of this fishery on ETP species and the main threat posed by the fishery to ETP species is considered to be a reduction in food availability.
Two comprehensive Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) are in progress for the industrial and for the artisanal and small-scale fleets, focusing on bycatch and ecosystem improving data. Current improvement recommendations call for better understanding of the direct impacts of the fleets on ETP species and habitats.
A member of the Engraulidae family, Peruvian anchovy is found in the eastern South Pacific along the coast of northern Peru, southwards to Chile. It forms huge schools in surface waters and is entirely dependent on the rich plankton of the Peruvian Current. It breeds throughout the year along the entire coast of Peru, but with a major spawning in winter/spring (July to September) and a lesser one in summer (February and March); also throughout the year off Chile, with peaks in winter (May to July) and the end of spring (especially December). Peruvian anchovy mature at about 1 year (about 10 cm standard length); attains about 8 cm standard length in 6 months, 10.5 cm in 12 months and 12 cm in 18 months (maximum length 20 cm); longevity about 3 years.
Criterion score: 0.25 info
Peruvian North-Central Stock
The stock is in a healthy state. There is some uncertainty as to the level of fishing pressure but there is high compliance to quotas which have been set in line with scientific advice since 2018. Information on the stock is not regularly publicly available and transparency is required. The Peruvian anchovy has a high resilience to fishing pressure.
The Peruvian anchovy fishery occurs in the Humboldt Current System (HCS), one of the most productive ecosystems in the world. The stock is highly dependent on recruitment, which in turn changes with environmental and oceanographic conditions in the ecosystem, like El Nino and La Nina events. In response to environmental variabilities the stock has undergone extreme collapses and recoveries throughout its history.
The status of the stock is not regularly publicly available as IMARPE (Marine Institute of Peru), the scientific body responsible for monitoring the stock, does not launch results as a public stock assessment. Transparency of the science is required on the information obtained on the stock status in relation to biological reference points.
Based on the recent biomass estimates (1909-11 survey), it was concluded that the northern-central anchovy stock was abundant and healthy in the Peruvian marine ecosystem. It is expected that with adequate monitoring and management of fisheries it will be maintained as such in a sustained manner, even though its distribution and local abundance may be temporarily affected by anomalous climate factors. The total stock biomass in 2020 was estimated to be 10.1 million tonnes, an increase from the previous year (7 million tonnes in 2019).
Although juveniles represented 75% of the total biomass estimate at the time of the cruise (thought to be the result of anomalous environmental conditions) the percentage of spawning adults is constantly increasing as juveniles reach the minimum size of 12 cm. Therefore, the quota is not calculated with the measurement of the cruise but with the projection of stock growth until the end of the fishing season. IMARPE calculate what the spawning stock biomass (SSB) will be at the end of the season to determine the quota. IMARPE’s strategy is to always have at least 5 million tonnes of spawning adults (target biomass, also known as PBR) at the end of the season. Under certain conditions this can be difficult to achieve and there may also be biases in the evaluations, so, a limit biomass is set at 4 million tonnes. Subsequently, the fishing quota is set at a level to achieve 5 million tonnes of spawning adults that remain in the stock at the end of the fishing season. The quota is the subtraction of the projected adult biomass at the end of the season, minus 5 million tonnes. Given the rapid growth of anchovy, this quota may be more than 3 million tonnes.
There is some uncertainty over the reliability of the data, as changes in the behaviour and a more extensive dispersion of anchoveta schools may lead to increased variability in the biomass estimates.
Fishing mortality (F) has fluctuated significantly since 1963 when F records began, ranging between 0.02 and 1.71. The historical value average exploitation rate for anchovy is 0.35, which has been adopted as the F target point from 2016 onwards (except in 2018, F target was 0.30). However, F levels are irregularly published (last published in 2008 at 0.68) by IMARPE and no reference point is available for fishing at maximum sustainable yield at low biomass. There is much uncertainty regarding the level of F in the fishery due to high levels of illegal discarding (not currently estimated) and because IMARPE do not report catch estimates including discards, illegal catches and entangled fish losses.
There are three distinct stocks of anchoveta (Engraulis ringens): Northern-Central Peruvian stock; Southern Peru/Northern Chile stock; and Chilean Central-Southern stock.
Criterion score: 0.5 info
There are some strong management measures in place, though these can be undermined by a lack of transparency in stock assessments, and policies based on a lack of scientific evidence.
The northern-central stock of anchoveta resides solely within Peru’s Exclusive Economic Zone and is managed exclusively by the Peruvian government. The management of the Peruvian fishery is conducted with norms and decrees issued by the Ministry of Production (PRODUCE) according to the recommendations issued by the Peruvian Marine Research Institute (IMARPE).
The fishery is managed by Total Allowable Catch (TAC) limits. Recent TACs have been set in accordance with scientific advice. In 2016 and 2017, TACs were set 14% and 53% above advice, respectively. Compliance to TAC is high. This total catch quota is assigned by individual quotas to the fishing vessels by PRODUCE, under the “Law on Maximum Catch Limits per Vessel”. Since 2017, a TAC has been set for the artisanal and small-scale fleets and applies to the entire Peruvian coast (I.e., is not fractioned by the Northern-Central and Southern stock). There is no specific share by each of the two Peruvian anchoveta stocks and no public evidence that the quota is supported by clear scientific recommendation. Catch restrictions place both Peruvian anchovy (Engraulis ringens) and Longnose anchovy (Anchoa nasus) into a single management unit. Management of two species under combined catch restrictions prevents the effective control of single species exploitation rates, which could lead to the over-exploitation of either species.
To reflect the short-lived nature of anchoveta, management of the industrial fleet is structured into two fishing seasons per year to protect spawning anchovy (spawning January-March and July-October). Adaptive management is used for this stock due to its strong dependence on environmental variables and rapid fluctuations in biomass. Some precautionary measures have been taken to allow the recovery of the stock from adverse environmental conditions.
Fishery management in Peru is strict with regards to fishing juveniles. The ministry has decision rules in place to close an area in a matter of hours where it is detected that there are more than 10% of juveniles in number. Likewise, IMARPE indicates for each season the maximum volume of juveniles that can be extracted (if this maximum is reached, the fishery is closed, which has happened several times). There is an obligation for each ship to report the percentage of juveniles it catches in each area. This must be communicated via an electronic log to the ministry. The data is used by the ministry to close certain fishing zones. In the first season of 2020, 85 zones were closed during almost the 100 days that the season lasted.
Additional management measures in place include: seasonal quotas, with closure of the fishery occurring if the quota is reached; vessels must have a valid fishing permit; minimum mesh size is 13 mm; minimum landing size of 12cm, although up to 10% of individuals may be smaller; If the presence of juveniles exceeds 10% in the daily landings at a port, fishing will be prohibited from this port for a minimum of three days; an exclusion zone for industrial fishing within 5 miles of the coast; effort limits for the small scale fleet; closed entry for new fishing boats in both the industrial and artisanal sectors; vessels must have an operating satellite positioning system on board; daily lists are published on the PRODUCE website of permitted and prohibited fishing vessels.
Illegal fishing in the fishery is a known problem and represents a potential danger for the sustainability of the fishery. Steps are being taken to tackle this issue through the government organisation PRODUCE, via an app to collect data on illegal fishing.
Two Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) were established in January 2017 for the industrial and for the artisanal and small-scale fleets, focusing on bycatch and ecosystem improving data. 100% of the industrial proportion of catch, and around 10% of the artisanal and small-scale proportion of catch account for FIP landings. These comprehensive FIPs are in advanced progress at stage 4, delivering improvement in policy and/or practices, with an ultimate objective to achieve a certifiable status. The projects had a targeted end date of March 2020, but there is a review for the extension of both FIP Action Plans. These FIPs continue to implement the actions that are currently incomplete.
Criterion score: 0.5 info
There is little to no impact on ecosystems caused by purse seiners and measures are in places to protect juveniles that can be involved in the trophic chain of predators considered ETP. Bycatch, ETP, habitat and ecosystem effects of the fishery do not appear to be significant. The main impacts to the ecosystem is the removal of anchovy (a key ecosystem species) on the food chain rather than through bycatch. The ecosystem is mainly protected by limiting the amount of anchovy that can be caught and the implementation of three major Marine Protects Areas (MPAs) within Peruvian waters.
Peruvian anchovy (Engraulis ringens) and Longnose anchovy (Anchoa nasus) are often caught together, both being targeted together. However, the proportion of this species in catch is not regularly reported and stock status is not known. Ecuadorian and Peruvian fishermen exploit this stock, with its expansion in warmer years up to the Gulf of Guayaquil, in Ecuador where a purse seine fishery operates, but since 2012 the population has retracted.
Purse seiners do not impact the seafloor unless used in shallow waters, as nets are mostly deployed at greater depths where bottom contact does not occur. Peruvian industrial vessels can only operate beyond 10 nautical miles (nm) from the coast and artisanal and small-scale fleets can only operate beyond 3 nm, in order to protect coastal habitats and spawning and breeding zones for several species in Peru. A privately funded observer programme has been launched in order to quantify the interaction of the fishing gear with the habitat.
Preliminary studies have shown that the impact of the fishery on other species is low. The fishery does not have a high level of bycatch, and the main bycatch species are chub mackerel (Scomber japonicus) and jack mackerel (Trachurus murphyi). Results of the 2017 observer program showed bycatch volumes were less than 1%. The fishery is restricted by a minimum mesh size of 13 mm.
A major challenge in recent years has been the prevalence in commercial catches of juveniles. To counteract the effects of the purse seine fishery on juvenile anchovy populations’ closed seasons are implemented to protect the main recruitment period. To further protect juvenile anchovy fishing is prohibited for selected periods for specific areas where they represent more than 10% bycatch. Vessels must declare when >10% of the catch is anchovy juveniles or other non-allowed species.
National legislation, based on the IUCN Red List, prohibits the capture of protected species (seabirds, turtles and marine mammals) for commercial purposes. These include the Humboldt Penguin (Spheniscus humboldti: Vulnerable - IUCN), Peruvian Diving Petrel (Pelecanoides garnotii: Endangered - IUCN), Guanay Cormorant (Phalacrocorax bougainvillii: Near Threatened - IUCN), green turtle (Chelonia mydas: Endangered - IUCN), pelicans, Peruvian booby, South American sea lion (Otaria flavescens) and Southern fur seals. Commercial catch, processing and marketing of small cetaceans has been prohibited by national law since the mid-1990s.
The greatest impact of this fishery is the decrease in the availability of anchovy, as anchovy is an important prey for many of species, including Endangered, Threatened or Protected (ETP) species. IMARPE have highlighted difficulties in predicting environmental variability and noted that focus should be on preservation of resilience of key species in the ecosystem, such as anchovy. Efforts taken to protect ETP species include the establishment of three major Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), covering a total area of 6,305km2, the National Reserve System of Guano Islands, Isles and Capes; the Paracas National Reserve; and the San Fernando National Reserve. These areas correspond to IUCN category VI protected areas and represent important refuges for seabirds and marine mammals. There has been some progress in collecting data on ETP species. The industry has been seen to be increasing its commitment on the issue, however, key efforts remain necessary for using the data for scientific purposes and also to quantify the impact of the fishery on ETP species.
There is no management plan with an explicit harvest strategy that takes into account the key role of anchovy in the ecosystem. There is little knowledge of the impacts of the Chimbote and the Sechura small-scale fleets have over other ecosystem components, such as bycatch species and ETP species. A better understanding of the direct impacts of the industrial fleets on ETP species and habitats is also required.
Based on method of production, fish type, and consumer rating: only fish rated 2 and below are included as an alternative in the list below. Click on a name to show the sustainable options available.Anchovy, European anchovy
Anchovy, Peruvian anchovy
Herring or sild
Horse Mackerel, Scad
Salmon, Chum, Keta, Calico or Dog salmon
Salmon, Pink, Spring , humpback
Salmon, Sockeye , Red Salmon, Bluebacks, Redfish
Sardine, European pilchard, sardines
ReferencesCastillo, R., Aparco, LLC., Grados, D., Cornejo, R., Guevara, R. and Csirke, J. (2020). Anchoveta (Engraulis ringens) Biomass in the Peruvian Marine Ecosystem Estimated by Various Hydroacoustic Methodologies during Spring of 2019. Journal of Marine Biology and Oceanography, 9 (2), 1000214.
CeDePesca (2020). Peruvian Anchovy (Direct Human Consumption) Fishery Improvement Project. Available at https://cedepesca.net/proyectos/peruvian-anchovy-direct-human-consumption/ [Accessed 20.08.2020]
CeDePesca (2020). Peruvian Anchovy (Indirect Human Consumption) Fishery Improvement Project. Available at https://cedepesca.net/proyectos/peruvian-anchovy-indirect-human-consumption/ [Accessed 20.08.2020]
Daily, J. (2019). Global Standard for Responsible Supply of Marine Ingredients Fishery Assessment Methodology and Template Report V2.0: Peru Anchovy (Engraulis ringens) Northern Border of Peruvian EEZ to 16 Degrees South. Assessment date, June 2019. Available at https://www.marin-trust.com/sites/marintrust/files/approved-raw-materials/Peru_WF_Anchovy_Re-assess_May%202019_%20Post%20FPRC_Amended%202020.pdf [Accessed 21.08.2020]
FAO (2016). El Nino is causing issues for the anchovy fishery off South America. Available at http://www.fao.org/in-action/globefish/market-reports/resource-detail/en/c/450932/?platform=hootsuite [Accessed 20.08.2020]
FAO (2020). The state of the world fisheries and aquaculture 2020. Available at http://www.fao.org/3/ca9229en/CA9229EN.pdf [Accessed 20.08.2020]
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Fishery Progress (2020). Peruvian Anchovy – Industrial Purse Seine. Available at https://fisheryprogress.org/fip-profile/peruvian-anchovy-industrial-purse-seine [Accessed 20.08.2020]
Fishery Progress (2020). Peruvian Anchovy – Small Scale Purse Seine. Available at https://fisheryprogress.org/fip-profile/peruvian-anchovy-small-scale-purse-seine [Accessed 20.08.2020]
FishSource (2020). Anchoveta Peruvian Northern-Central: Profile updated 3 August 2020. Available at https://www.fishsource.org/stock_page/1383 [Accessed 20.08.2020]
Hannesson, R. (2013). Strictly for the birds?: On ecosystem services of forage fish. Marine Policy, 38, pp.109-115. Available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2012.05.026 [Accessed 21.08.2020]
Hoare, D. (2018). Fishery Assessment Report: IFFO GLOBAL STANDARD FOR RESPONSIBLE SUPPLY OF FISHMEAL AND FISH OIL. Available at https://www.marin-trust.com/sites/marintrust/files/approved-raw-materials/Peru%20anchovy%20Surveillance%20Yr%202%20April%202018_Final_VP.pdf [Accessed 20.08.2020]
IMARPE (2015). Estimate of the total permissible capture of the Northern-Central Peruvian Anchovy Stock (English) “ESTIMACIÓN DE LA CAPTURA TOTAL PERMISIBLE DEL STOCK NORTE CENTRO DE LA ANCHOVETA PERUANA”. Available at http://www.imarpe.gob.pe/imarpe/archivos/informes/imarpe/protocolo_captu_stok_ancho.pdf [Accessed 20.08.2020]
IMARPE (2020). Situacoón del stock norte-centro de la anchoveta peruana (engraulis ringens) al mes de mayo de 2020 y perspectivas de explotacion para la primera temporada de pesca del ano. 57 pp. Available at http://www.imarpe.gob.pe/imarpe/descarga_informe.php?archivo=107 [Accessed 21.08.2020]
Kroetz, K. Sanchirico, J.N., Galarza Contreras, E., Corderi Novoa, D., Collado, N. and Swiedler, E.W. (2016). Examination of the Peruvian anchovy Individual Vessel Quota (IVQ) System. Available at: https://publications.iadb.org/bitstream/handle/11319/8066/Examination-of-the-Peruvian-Anchovy-Individual-Vessel-Quota-IVQ-System.pdf?sequence=4 [Accessed 20.08.2020]
Marin Trust (personal communication, August-December 2020)
Mereghetti, M. (2020). Peru’s fishing industry criticises revision of law regulating scientific body IMARPE. Available at https://www.undercurrentnews.com/2020/01/23/perus-fishing-industry-criticizes-revision-of-law-regulating-scientific-body-imarpe/ [Accessed 20.08.2020]
Molinari, C. (2020). Peru’s prosecutor requests IMARPE raid amid suspicions of foul play. Available at https://www.seafoodsource.com/news/supply-trade/peru-s-prosecutor-requests-imarpe-raid-amid-suspicions-of-foul-play [Accessed 20.08.2020]
Molinari, C. (2020). Peru’s anchovy fishing season set to close with landings at 100 percent. Dated 22nd July 2020. Available at https://www.seafoodsource.com/news/premium/supply-trade/peru-s-anchovy-fishing-season-set-to-close-with-landings-at-100-percent [Accessed 20.08.2020]
NOAA (2020). ENSO: Recent evolution, current status and predictions. Updated 17th August 2020. Available at https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf [Accessed 20.08.2020]
PRODUCE (2017). Resolucion Ministerial N dgrees 186-2017. Establecen cuota de captura del recurso anchoveta para el ano 2017, en el marco del regimen de abastecimiento permanente a la industria de consumo humano directo. Lima, 21 de abril de 2017. Available at http://busquedas.elperuano.com.pe/download/url/establecen-cuota-de-captura-del-recurso-anchoveta-para-el-an-resolucion-ministerial-n-186-2017-produce-1512176-2 [Accessed 21.08.2020]
PRODUCE (2018a). Resolucion Ministerial N degrees 142-2018. Autorizan inicio de la Primera Temporada de Pesca 2018 del recurso anchoveta y anchoveta blanca en area del dominio marítimo. Lima, 5 de abril de 2018. - TAC for the first fishing season 2018. Available at http://busquedas.elperuano.pe/download/url/autorizan-el-inicio-de-la-primera-temporada-de-pesca-2018-de-resolucion-ministerial-n-142-2018-produce-1634178-14 [Accessed 21.08.2020]
PRODUCE (2018b). Resolucion Ministerial N dgrees 143-2018. Establecen limite maximo total de captura para Consumo Humano Directo (LMTV-CHD) del recurso anchoveta para el ano 2018, 5 de abril de 2018. Available at http://busquedas.elperuano.pe/download/url/establecen-limite-maximo-total-de-captura-para-consumo-human-resolucion-ministerial-n-143-2018-produce-1634178-15 [Accessed 21.08.2020]
PRODUCE (2019). Resolucion Ministerial n dgrees 313-2019. Establecen Limite Maximo Total de Captura para Consumo Humano Directo (LMTCCHD) del recurso anchoveta para el ano 2019, correspondiente a todo el litoral. Available at https://busquedas.elperuano.pe/normaslegales/establecen-limite-maximo-total-de-captura-para-consumo-human-resolucion-ministerial-n-313-2019-produce-1789885-2/?fbclid=IwAR0-3yXMfoaxLyFZkKGUpvoAk5V05AmBm1ED84kTeXptHFHRWsAvu83-zrs [Accessed 21.08.2020]
PRODUCE (2020). Resolucion Ministerial n degrees 147-2020-PRODUCE. Autorizan el inicio de la Primera Temporada de Pesca 2020 del recurso anchoveta y anchoveta blanca, en el area marítima comprendida entre el extremo norte del dominio marítimo del Perú y los 16degrees00’LS. Available at https://busquedas.elperuano.pe/normaslegales/autorizan-el-inicio-de-la-primera-temporada-de-pesca-2020-de-resolucion-ministerial-n-147-2020-produce-1866150-1/ [Accessed 21.08.2020]
Tam, J., Taylor, M and Nique, M. (2020). Ecosystem impacts of fishing the low trophic level Peruvian anchovy in the Northern Humboldt Current Ecosystem. Working Group Fishery Improvement Project Peru anchovy - industrial purse-seine (FIP- Anchoveta). IMAPRE, Peru.
Torero, M. (2020). La credibilidad del IMARPE no está en duda: ¿Se deben hacer mejoras continuas en la gestión de todas las entidades públicas? Por supuesto, pero eso no debe hacerse a costa del sacrificio de la credibilidad de una entidad como el Instituto del Mar del Perú (IMARPE), que cuenta con un prestigio bien ganado a nivel internacional. Lima: June 19, 2020.
Young, J. and Lankester, K. (2013). Catch Shares in Action: Peruvian Anchoveta Northern-Central Stock Individual Vessel Quota Program. Environmental Defense Fund. Available at https://www.issuelab.org/resources/22785/22785.pdf [Accessed 20.08.2020]