Fisherman in Ancon, Peru, where TNC's sustainable fisheries management tool, FishPath, was piloted.
PLACE_HOLDER PLACE_HOLDER © PLACE_HOLDER

The Nature Conservancy in Peru

Peru

Ocean Conservation. Leaving more for nature and future generations.

icono oceanos peru nature
PLACE_HOLDER PLACE_HOLDER © PLACE_HOLDER
Results to date
  • The Conservancy and the Sustainable Fisheries Group at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) designed a socio-economic model and tool to support the allocation process of the Total Allowable Catch for the anchoveta fishery.
  • TNC and UCSB trained 20+ government officials in the basic principles of fisheries economics and the use of the quota allocation tool.
  • Conducted a three day workshops to train IMARPE´s scientists on stock assessment methods and FishPath in collaboration UCSB, the University of Washington and the SNAPP data limited working group.
  • In collaboration with SNAPP and IMARPE we finalized the stock assessment for “chita”. We are currently in process of reviewing the final report and producing management recommendations.
  • Conducted 3 training sessions on biological, ecological, market aspects of local fisheries and good fishing practices in Ancon, with active participation by the members of the Association of Divers and Benthic Fishers of Ancon.
  • We have established a comprehensive fishery monitoring program in Ancon. The results are being used to perform stock assessments for two (02) commercial species and produce management recommendations using FishPath.
  • Produced a value chain analysis for fishing products of Ancon, and launched an information system to keep track of fish products through the value chain.
  • Through a commercial pilot, TNC and the Benthic fishers of Ancon have secured deals with renowned high-end restaurants of Peru and traded over three metric tons of high quality, responsibly harvested products in less than three months; and secured a 30% increase in the price of octopus that was responsibly harvested, resulting in $3,000-$4,000 of additional revenues for these communities.
  • The representative of the association of Divers and Benthic Fishers of Ancon shared their experience of selfmanagement and work with TNC during the International Symposium of Capacity building for Sustainable Oceans, organized by the Nippon Foundation with collaboration of TNC in Tokyo, Japan.

This is the world’s most productive marine ecosystem, supporting an astonishing diversity of life: whales, dolphins, seals, seabirds and Humboldt penguins. The current’s massive schools of anchovies have made Peru the world’s largest exporter of fishmeal. Anchoveta stocks provide a third of the world’s fishmeal and fish oil, which are exported for use in the aquaculture and livestock feed industries and the growing market for omega-3 supplements. Overfishing, weak management of fisheries, and lack of marine protection pose major threats to the Humboldt Current ecosystem and its capacity to continue supporting the livelihoods of thousands of coastal communities as well as the economies of Peru and Chile.

While there has been progress towards comprehensive fishery reform in Peru, it has focused almost exclusively on the industrial sector targeting anchoveta for the export market. However, the artisanal anchoveta sector and most of the country’s near shore fisheries remain poorly managed. Artisanal fisheries directly employ more than 45,000 fishers and provide close to 80% of the seafood consumed in the country.

Our vision is that the anchoveta and small-scale fishing stocks are managed sustainably and support healthy fisheries, the livelihoods of the thousands of families who depend on them and the myriad of species and habitats that make the Humboldt Current one of the most productive ocean systems in the world.

Take a look at this article published by the Montana University which reflects TNC´s work in the region.

The Peruvian anchoveta – The largest single-species fishery of the world

Many of us know the humble anchovy as a pizza topping, but the Peruvian anchoveta is the largest single-species fishery in the world, with an average yearly catch of up to 5–6 million metric tons. Most of the anchoveta catch ends up as fishmeal used in feed for livestock and aquaculture operations, and in the growing market of omega-3 and fish oil nutritional supplements.
Peru is the world’s leading exporter of fishmeal, but despite the progress made towards improving its management, this important fishery is at risk from overfishing. Before 2008, the anchoveta fishery operated under a restricted open access regime, where fishers competed to catch as many fish as possible out of a Total Allowable Catch (TAC). This ‘race for fish’ generated fishing fleet and processing overcapacity that threatened the long-term health of fish stocks and the future of the industry.

In 2008, the Government of Peru took an unprecedented step forward in managing this fishery by introducing individual quotas for fishing vessels. This change succeeded in reducing the number of vessels fishing at any one time, lengthened the fishing season, and improved the quality of the catch. But the work is not yet complete. The reforms of 2008 applied only to the industrial fishing sector. The next step is to bring unregulated small-scale, artisanal fishers under the umbrella of the total catch allowed to sustain the anchoveta stock. This small-scale sector is not insignificant as they have the potential to catch up to 1 million metric tons of anchoveta each year. If this sector remains unmanaged, it threatens the entire anchoveta fishery and the marine ecosystem.

Small-scale artisanal fisheries - The poorly known and managed source of seafood

Artisanal and small-scale fisheries are an important economic engine for coastal communities. They account for close to 10% of the Peruvian wild fish catch and provide almost 80% of the seafood consumed in the country. More than 45,000 fishers are directly employed in this sector. Despite the importance of the small-scale fisheries sector to the economy, very little information is available on the condition of stocks, levels of fishing effort, management effectiveness or performance. This lack of knowledge, paired with weak governance, limited market access, and very low capacity for producing value-added products, are impediments to progress towards sustainability. These obstacles have led, in many instances, to overharvesting stocks and destructive fishing practices, resulting in poor outcomes for fishers and the environment.

FishPath

A key component of TNC strategic approach to fisheries reform is the development of tools that demonstrate how fisheries can move successfully from unassessed and unmanaged to managed and sustainable. There is a clear need for cheaper, easier ways to assess and manage data-limited fisheries. Fisheries experts around the world have developed numerous methods and techniques that attempt to do this, but it has proven difficult to get these techniques to the fisheries managers who need them, and to choose from among the hundreds of methods thatexist.

The Nature Conservancy and the Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNaPP) have responded by bringing together a group of renowned fishery scientists and conservation practitioners from around the world to develop a guidance tool for selecting the appropriate assessment and management options available for a particular fishery. This tool, named FishPath, is a decision-making software application that provides a step-by-step guide to selecting monitoring, assessment and management methods for data-limited fisheries.

It is a unique tool that is simple and easy to use, and designed to be tailored to a specific fishery, taking into account not only characteristics of the local marine environment but also relevant social, political, and economic data.

Strategies in action

TNC’s fishery strategies in Peru focus on reforming both, the industrial and artisanal sectors, ensuring the continued ecological productivity of the Humboldt Current Ecosystem and securing the welfare of the thousands of families living in coastal communities in Peru who depend on the Current for their livelihoods.

Blue Growth Compact for the anchoveta fishery – the largest single species fishery in the world: The Conservancy is partnering with the Peruvian government, the private sector, the academia and the NGO community to improve the quota system for the anchoveta fishery, making sure that the management of Peru’s anchoveta fishery complies with sustainable standards and is ready to be certified.

Reducing inefficiencies in the artisanal fishing sector to secure fish supply and livelihoods: Reform the Peruvian artisanal sector to successfully transition un-assessed, open access small-scale fisheries to rights-based management, by establishing access rights to manage local fishing grounds, anchored in local governance systems; increasing the capacities of fishers, research organizations and fishing authorities to assess fish stocks and set control rules; and, using markets to catalyze fishery reform ensuring a sustainable supply of seafood.

Oceans provide half of our oxygen, absorb carbon dioxide, sustain coastal economies and generate food for millions. Human activity and climate change are straining Peru's coastal habitats and depleting fish stocks.

As more people turn towards Peru's ocean resources, we are developing innovative mechanisms to promote sustainable seafood, secure livelihoods and conserve marine habitats by:

  • Protecting and restoring critically important marine habitats and fish stock
    • We are developing science-based decision support systems and methods to protect critical marine habitats and fishing-grounds, securing the sustainable use of dwindling fish stocks.
  • Transforming how we use nature to sustain ourselves
    • Through science and partnerships, policies and corporate practices, we are transforming the way industrial and artisanal fisheries in Peru are managed, improving their social and economic performance.
  • Inspiring collective action
    • We are catalyzing action among governments, corporations, communities and the general public to adopt best practices and engage in fisheries policy reform.
Fishing in Ancon, Mayumi, head of Bethania fishing cooperative.
PLACE_HOLDER Above, Mayumi, the head of the Bethnic Fisherman Association stands on his boat off the coast of Ancon, a small fishing town an hour and a half outside of Lima. © PLACE_HOLDER

Protecting and restoring critically important marine habitats and fish stocks

TNC has developed FishPath, a fisheries engagement process and management tool that allows data and capacity-limited fisheries managers and fishing communities to identify a step-by-step process to improve the management of their fisheries.

  • Because FishPath provides such an objective and consistent approach to fisheries management, it can work on a large scale, opening the door to better management, certification and sustainability for thousands of data and capacity-limited fisheries around the world.
  • In Ancon, where we collaborated with the Bethnic Fisherman Association to successfully pilot FishPath, Mayumi explains, “What will happen tomorrow if we don’t do something now…it’s the only way to conserve the little that we have… think about the future, maybe not ours but the future of our children because they will also live from fishing".
  • Watch our video to learn more about our work with fishermen like Mayumi.

A fisherman sorting his catch, Ancon, Peru.
PLACE_HOLDER “National fisheries agencies and local community fishery organizations are recognizing the economic case for fisheries reform. But they need help to implement management changes that will be good for conservation and for the bottom line. TNC can be the catalyst to drive reform in these data-limited fisheries . We are collaborating with fishers to identify and implement tools to monitor, assess and make simple management decision, making them part of the solution for the management of their local fisheries.” © PLACE_HOLDER

Most of us know the humble anchovy as a pizza topping.

But the tiny fish is not only the basis of the food chain for hundreds of species in the rich Humboldt Current ecosystem, it also supports the largest single-species fishery in the world, the anchoveta. Despite progress made by Peru’s government, until recently the anchoveta's medium and small-scale fleets remained unregulated, and overfishing threatened to collapse the entire fishery.

  • TNC, together with the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), developed a quota allocation model and held trainings for government officials to help strengthen Peru’s fisheries agency's management decisions.
  • This year, for the first time ever, the Peruvian government set a catch limit for the anchoveta’s medium and small-scale fleet.
    • This move now brings the entire anchoveta fleet towards sustainable standards, a vital step to sustaining the Humboldt Current marine ecosystem and the hundreds of species and thousands of livelihoods this tiny fish supports.

- Ana Parma, Research Scientist with the National Council for Scientific and Technological Investigations and Board Member of The Nature Conservancy


Ancon's fish market.
PLACE_HOLDER Above, early morning shoppers check out the fish at Ancon's fish market. © PLACE_HOLDER

Inspiring collective action

Sound fisheries management supports the livelihoods of thousands of Peruvian fishermen, food security around the world, and healthy marine ecosystems.

  • We are engaging all sectors to be part of the solution in conserving Peru's fish stocks.

Hector Samillán Paz, a fisherman from Ancon speaks to our work in his community: "Collaborating with TNC and their expertise in monitoring, resource assessment and control rules has allowed us to reach better economic results. Not only has our planning improved and costs been reduced, but high-end restaurants have started to recognize the quality of our products—they are after our octopus and now are willing to pay higher prices. With higher prices, we now spend less time fishing underwater which is critical for our safety and health. Our members stick together and comply as much as possible with our commitments for responsible fishing. We are doing great".


Results to Date:

  • The Conservancy and the Sustainable Fisheries Group at the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) designed a socio-economic model and tool to support the allocation process of the Total Allowable Catch for the anchoveta fishery.
  • TNC and UCSB trained 20+ government officials in the basic principles of fisheries economics and the use of the quota allocation tool.
  • Conducted a three day workshops to train IMARPE´s scientists on stock assessment methods and FishPath in collaboration UCSB, the University of Washington and the SNAPP data limited working group.
  • In collaboration with SNAPP and IMARPE we finalized the stock assessment for “chita”. We are currently in process of reviewing the final report and producing management recommendations.
  • Conducted 3 training sessions on biological, ecological, market aspects of local fisheries and good fishing practices in Ancon, with active participation by the members of the Association of Divers and Benthic Fishers of Ancon.
  • We have established a comprehensive fishery monitoring program in Ancon. The results are being used to perform stock assessments for two (02) commercial species and produce management recommendations using FishPath.
  • Produced a value chain analysis for fishing products of Ancon, and launched an information system to keep track of fish products through the value chain.
  • Through a commercial pilot, TNC and the Benthic fishers of Ancon have secured deals with renowned high-end restaurants of Peru and traded over three metric tons of high quality, responsibly harvested products in less than three months; and secured a 30% increase in the price of octopus that was responsibly harvested, resulting in $3,000-$4,000 of additional revenues for these communities.
  • The representative of the association of Divers and Benthic Fishers of Ancon shared their experience of selfmanagement and work with TNC during the International Symposium of Capacity building for Sustainable Oceans, organized by the Nippon Foundation with collaboration of TNC in Tokyo, Japan.