Ocean Conservation

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.

Protecting and restoring critically important marine habitats and fish stocks

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.

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.

Transforming how we use nature to sustain ourselves

Above, a fisherman lays out his catch at Ancon's fish market.

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.

“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.”

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

Ancon's fish market.

Inspiring collective action

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

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.


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