In Peru, one of the world's major suppliers of anchovies, fishing for anchovies has been banned.
In Peru, one of the world's major suppliers of anchovies, fishing for anchovies has been banned. It is to protect the dwindling stocks, but has an immediate effect on welfare of fishermen, thousands of their fellow country men and on Peru's economy.
SYNOPSIS: Ten thousand men fish for anchovies off Peru. But an estimated forty thousand families depend on the industry for their livelihoods. A combination of natural causes and massive overfishing in the early 1970s has seriously depleted the supply. To ensure a long-term future for an industry which should provide almost a fifth of Peru's foreign earnings, the government has to ration each season's fishing.
Almost all the anchovies the Peruvians catch go for export, either filleted in cans, or as fishmeal. Indeed, these anchovies used to provide half the world's fishmeal, one of the most important sources of protein for livestock. Now the government forbids fishing when catches contain more than forty percent of undersized fish. Each season, it uses the latest scientific methods to try to work out a target catch that will not further deplete the long-term stocks. As soon as the target is reached further fishing is banned, and the fishermen are told.
For the Peruvian economy, the fishing ban could not have come at a worse time. Its other major industry, copper mining, is in the grip of a national strike. Anchovies were Peru's major export until copper output overtook them two years ago. Now both industries are beset by problems in an economy which cannot afford either setback.