Peru is the sixth largest producer of wild-caught fisheries globally.1 Peruvian fisheries are dominated by the largest single-species fishery in the world – anchoveta (Engraulis ringens) – which represents 10 per cent of total global capture fisheries.2 Anchoveta landings in Peru are largely converted into fishmeal and fish oil for export earnings,3 with a small component from the artisanal fleet used for direct human consumption. Fisheries for other species – such as squid, shrimp and mackerel – contribute significantly to local consumption and employment.4
While Peru has the highest Progress score within our dataset – 59.1 out of 100 – its limited governance capacity, and associated risk of overfishing, caused Peru to be downgraded from a ‘C’ to a ‘D’ grade. Peru has few elements of a comprehensive governance system, with critical gaps related to the lack of science-based management, limited stakeholder participation in management and lack of action against illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing. This weak governance and management represents a risk to sustainability of fish stocks. Peru faces an urgent challenge to ensure sustainable management of all fisheries in its waters.
Progress towards SDG target 14.4
While Peru demonstrates the furthest progress towards SDG target 14.4 globally, it is still far from achieving sustainability in all fisheries in its waters.
A very high proportion of Peru’s catch is assessed – 92 per cent – making it one of the top five countries in the Index in terms of data availability. This high score is due, in part, to Peruvian fisheries being dominated by two large anchoveta stocks, which together account for over 70 per cent of the total catch in Peru’s national waters. While these two stocks lack recent official assessments, sufficient information was available to estimate stock abundance using data-limited approaches. Although the unassessed catch is a small proportion (8 per cent) of the total catch in Peru’s national waters, given the large size of Peru’s fisheries, it represents over 23.5 million tonnes between 1990 and 2018 – more than the total marine catch in most countries.
Eighteen of the 28 assessed fish stocks in Peru (64 per cent) are at or above 40 per cent of their unfished levels of abundance – our definition of sustainable. Given the large sustainable stocks within its waters, an estimated 86 per cent of Peru’s catch comes from stocks that are currently sustainable. Again, this is largely driven by anchoveta – a species that is highly responsive to changes in environmental conditions.5 As anchoveta stocks naturally fluctuate from year to year, strong and adaptive management measures are required to maintain sustainable levels of abundance.
Despite its relative progress towards SDG target 14.4, Peru performs in the bottom 20 per cent of countries globally, and the mid-range of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, for its fisheries governance.
Peru’s governance results suggest it has limited capacity to promote sustainable fishing practices across all fisheries within its waters. While there are some elements of a governance system, critical gaps remain in terms of collecting high-quality fisheries data and using this information as part of science-based management, ensuring effective stakeholder participation in management and taking action against illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing.
Peru has a fisheries policy foundation with clearly stated environmental and livelihood objectives. Although Peru is party to key international agreements for marine conservation, it is yet to ratify fundamental international agreements for fisheries management or worker rights and safety in fisheries. This includes the 1982 UN Convention for the Law of the Sea, the 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement, the 2007 ILO Work in Fishing Convention (No. 188) and the 2012 IMO Cape Town Agreement.
While there is some evidence that Peru has financial and professional capacity to manage its fisheries resources, this has yet to be translated into on-the-water activities for all fish stocks. For example, Peru collects high-quality information, uses science-based catch and/or effort limits and harvest control rules in key fisheries, like anchoveta (Engraulis ringens). However, there is little evidence these same standards are used across fisheries more broadly. Further, results suggest that while Peru’s information and monitoring programs collect important catch and effort data, this information is not consistently verified by a third-party.
All commercial fishing vessels operating in Peru’s waters are required to be registered and hold valid fishing licences, and Peru encourages transparency in the fishing sector by making this information publicly available through national registries. Peru is also one of the few countries globally that has made its national vessel-tracking data publicly available,6 demonstrating its commitment to better transparency of its fishing fleet.
Peru underperforms in terms of stakeholder participation in fisheries management. Stakeholders’ ability to effectively engage in management processes are hindered by Peru’s centralised management structure and limited formal participation opportunities for key stakeholders, such as fishers. There may also be limited stakeholder capacity to engage due to a lack of transparency around decision-making, for example by not publishing management meeting minutes.
Foreign fishing is permitted in Peruvian waters through joint ventures, business and bilateral- and/or multi-lateral access agreements, with high levels of foreign fishing observed. Approximately nine months of fishing by foreign-flagged vessels were detected by Peru’s waters in 2019. This included vessels operating under known ‘flags of convenience’, which can mask true vessel ownership and reduce operator accountability.7
While foreign fishing may not present risks to the sustainability of a country’s fisheries resources when well-managed, Peru lacks critical components of a compliance management system that would help reduce the risk of unsustainable or illegal fishing by these fleets in its waters. This includes a lack of randomised or risk-based fisheries inspections, as well as no National Plan of Action to prevent, deter and eliminate IUU fishing. The low perceived integrity of Peru’s enforcement of laws, rules and regulations8 may further undermine the effectiveness of the fisheries compliance management system.9
The use of harmful fishing subsidies further complicates Peru’s efforts to ensure fishing in its waters is sustainable. Over 85 per cent – estimated at over US$297 million in 2018 – of its fishing subsidies budget is linked to potentially harmful programs, such as reduced fuel prices and tax exemptions. While these subsidies encourage industry development, they have also been linked to overcapacity and overfishing, particularly in the industrial sector.10
|Progress score||59.1 out of 100|
|Total reconstructed catch in 2018||8.0 million tonnes|
|Total reconstructed catch (1990 to 2018)||290.9 million tonnes|
|Catch from sustainable stocks (1990 to 2018)||86%|
|Catch from overfished stocks (1990 to 2018)||6%|
|Catch from unassessed stocks (1990 to 2018)||8%|
|Governance capacity||Low: Level 4 of 12|
Methods and data sources
Peru is considered part of the Latin American and Caribbean region. Refer to the Technical Methods for a detailed explanation of the methods used by the Minderoo Foundation to produce the 2021 Global Fishing Index. The Technical Methods should be read in conjunction with the Global Fishing Index Key Insights report, Governance Conceptual Framework and Indicator Codebook.
Peru’s Progress score was informed by 28 assessed fish stocks. Eleven of these stocks had recent published official stock assessments, including ten assessments from regional fisheries management organisations (RFMOs). The remaining 17 stocks were assessed using publicly available data and established data limited methods (CMSY++ or the Bayesian Schaefer Model).11, 12 Catch and stock sustainability estimates were reviewed by one local fisheries expert prior to finalisation.
Peru’s Governance assessment was informed by one questionnaire respondent, three interviews with local experts and the publicly available literature. Consulted references are listed in the Bibliography below. Our assessment measures country-level fisheries governance, with eight indicators referring specifically to a country’s most valuable fishery, as identified by assessment respondents. The most valuable fishery identified for Peru was the anchoveta, Engraulis ringens.
The following sources informed Peru’s governance assessment:
Arellano, C.E. and Swartzman, G. (2010). The Peruvian artisanal fishery: Changes in patterns and distribution over time, Fisheries Research 101, (3), pp. 133-145, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fishres.2009.08.007 [28 January 2020]
Christensen, V., De la Puente, S., Sueiro, J.C., Steenbeek, J. and Majluf, P. (2014). Valuing seafood: The Peruvian fisheries sector, Marine Policy 44, pp. 302–311, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2013.09.022 [28 January 2020]
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2010). National Fisheries Sector Overview: Fishery and Aquaculture Country Profiles, Peru, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, pp. 1-21. http://www.fao.org/fishery/docs/DOCUMENT/fcp/en/FI_CP_PE.pdf [28 January 2020]
Horna, H. (1968). The Fish Industry of Peru, The Journal of Developing Areas 2, (3), pp. 393-406., https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/4189485.pdf?refreqid=excelsior%3Ad31e1e20398c83948aac810f381fc859 [28 January 2020]
Institut de Recherche pour le Developpement Instituto del Mar Peru (2008). Adaptive Management in Pelagic FIsheries, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, EUR-OCEANS Knowledge Transfer Unit, pp. 1-2. http://pierrefreon.free.fr/PDF/Freon_et_al_EUR-OCEANS_FC_adaptive_management_2008.pdf [28 January 2020]
International Fishmeal and Fish Oil Organisation (2017). Global Standard for Responsible Supply of Marine Ingredients, International Fishmeal and Fish Oil Organisation,, London, UK, pp. 1-24. https://www.iffors.com/sites/iffors/files/approved-raw-materials/Peru_WF_Anchovy_Re-assess_May%202019_%20Post%20FPRC_Final.pdf [28 January 2020]
International Fishmeal and Fish Oil Organisation (2018). Fishery Assessment Report: IFFO Global Standerd for Responsible Supply of Fidhmeal and Fish Oil, International Fishmeal and Fish Oil Organisation,, Mill Street, Dundalk, Co. Louth, Ireland, pp. 1-22. https://www.iffors.com/sites/iffors/files/approved-raw-materials/Peru%20anchovy%20Surveillance%20Yr%202%20April%202018_Final_VP.pdf [28 January 2020]
Kroetz, K., Sanchirico, J.N., Contreras, E.G., Novoa, D.C., Collado, N. and Swiedler, E.W. (2016). Examination of the Peruvian anchovy Individual Vessel Quota (IVQ) System (IDB Working Paper Series ; 749), Inter-American Development Bank, Environment, Rural Development Disaster Risk Management Division, pp. 1-76. https://publications.iadb.org/publications/english/document/Examination-of-the-Peruvian-Anchovy-Individual-Vessel-Quota-(IVQ)-System.pdf [28 January 2020]
Ministerio de la Produccion (2018). Anuario Estadistico Pesquero y Acuicola 2017, Ministerio de la Produccion, Calle Uno Oeste N° 060, Urb. Córpac, San Isidro, pp. 1-205. http://ogeiee.produce.gob.pe/images/Anuario/Pesca_2017.pdf [28 January 2020]
National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration – National Marine Fisheries Service (1981). Foreign Fishing Policies of Latin American Nations, Foreign Fishery Developments 4, (2), pp. 27-30, https://spo.nmfs.noaa.gov/sites/default/files/pdf-content/mfr4326.pdf [28 January 2020]
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2019). Aid (ODA) disbursements to countries and regions https://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=TABLE2A# [28 January 2020]
Ministerio de la Produccion, Evaluacion del Plan Anual de Contrataciones al Primer Trimestre del ano 2019 (2019).https://www.produce.gob.pe/images/stories/Repositorio/transparencia/adquisiciones-contrataciones/evaluacion-pac-2019-I.pdf [28 January 2020]
Soto, W.M., Cruz, A.M., Mendoza, G.C. and Carlota Estrella Arellano, A.G.O., Renato Guevara-Carrasco (2017). Atlas de la pesca artesanal del mar del Perú, pp. 1-185. http://biblioimarpe.imarpe.gob.pe/handle/123456789/3166 [28 January 2020]
Tilman, J. (2006). Sustainability Impact Assessment of Proposed WTO Negotiations: The Fisheries Sector; Country Case Study: Peru, pp. 1-40. https://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2006/october/tradoc_128972.pdf [28 January 2020]