Don't hold the anchovies: Study shows Peruvian fish worth more as food than as feed

Nov 13, 2013

The true potential of Peruvian anchovy lies not in fishmeal but as food for people and as part of the ocean food web, according to Canadian and Peruvian researchers.

The Peruvian anchovy is the world's biggest fishery resource, with annual landings of five to 10-million metric tons. It generates up to one-third of the world's fishmeal supply. But a new study reveals the bulk of the revenue and employment comes from producing the seafood for human consumption.

"Anchovy accounts for upwards of 80 per cent of Peruvian landings by weight, but it's only responsible for 31 per cent of the sector's revenue," says Villy Christensen, a professor in the University of British Columbia Fisheries Centre. "It hasn't lived up to its true economic value because almost all of it is ground up for low-value fish oil or fishmeal."

Christensen and colleagues at the Centre for Environmental Sustainability (CSA) at Cayetano Heredia University in Peru calculated the economic impact of anchovy and other Peruvian fisheries. They found that artisanal fishers, wholesalers, markets and restaurants generated US$2.4 billion per year, or 69 per cent of total revenue.

Meanwhile, the fishmeal industry generated only $1.1 billion, or 31 per cent of revenue. Similarly, of all the jobs supported by fishing in Peru, more than 80 per cent were part of the seafood industry. Details are published in the current issue of the journal Marine Policy.

"Current Peruvian regulations only allow anchovy caught by artisanal or small boats to be used for human consumption, forcing the majority of the landings to be exported as fishmeal," says Patricia Majluf, CSA Director and the project's Peruvian lead.

"There are far more economic and security benefits to Peru to channel fisheries for ," adds Majluf, who launched a campaign in 2006 to encourage Peruvian chefs to incorporate anchovy on their menus. "We need to reform our laws to allow anchovy fishery to reach its full economic potential."

Explore further: NOAA: 2012 US seafood landings remain near high 2011 levels

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The fisherman is a predator like any other

Jul 02, 2007

For Peru fishing is a prime source of foreign exchange, second only to mining. The country’s anchovy fishing fleet, which seeks the Peruvian anchovy Engraulis ringens, is the world’s largest single-species fishery, with ...

Action needed to keep fish on the menu in 2050

Apr 23, 2012

The latest study suggests we may still be able to eat as much fish as we do today 40 years from now. But for that to happen, we'll have to change our ways, say scientists.

Recommended for you

Dwindling wind may tip predator-prey balance

Sep 19, 2014

Bent and tossed by the wind, a field of soybean plants presents a challenge for an Asian lady beetle on the hunt for aphids. But what if the air—and the soybeans—were still?

Asian stars enlisted to fight African rhino poaching

Sep 19, 2014

Increasingly desperate South African conversationists are turning to a multi-national team of "rhino ambassadors" to try to end the scourge of poaching—and Vietnamese pop diva Hong Nhung has been recruited ...

Tropical fish a threat to Mediterranean Sea ecosystems

Sep 18, 2014

The tropical rabbitfish which have devastated algal forests in the eastern Mediterranean Sea pose a major threat to the entire Mediterranean basin if their distribution continues to expand as the climate ...

User comments : 0