Lower anchovy fishing quota in Peru


The first anchovy fishing season in Peru observed a lower quota compared to the same period of last year, but landings so far are quite positive. The market and prices are relatively stable.


In the first six months of 2019, overall raw material landings around the world dropped significantly. Total fishmeal and fish oil production during this period followed the trend of raw material landings, with fishmeal production decreasing by 45 percent and fish oil production dropping 49 percent compared to 2018 in Peru. For the first two quarters, total fishmeal and fish oil production in Peru reached 520 751 tonnes and 88 212 tonnes, respectively.

Other countries reported the same trends. The first anchovy fishing season of 2019 in the centre-north region of Peru began on 4 May with a total allowable catch set at 2.1 million tonnes, some 36 percent less than for 2018. This was partly due to the re-emergence of El Niño conditions that affected production. As of 30 June, around 2.24 million tonnes of anchovy have been reportedly landed, a 57 percent drop compared to landings at the same time in 2018. Approximately 1.86 million tonnes of the landing came from this fishing season, since the previous fishing season ended in early 2019 and part of these landings were from the previous season.

According to local news sources, the average rate in May was about 43 000 tonnes per day, but with unusually strong waves in June, this rate fell to 25 000 tonnes per day. Peru’s Ministry of Production announced a tenday ban on anchovy harvesting on 27 June. This suspension aims to protect the sustainability of the stock resources and juvenile anchovy specimens, given that there is only 12 percent of the first season quota left to harvest and that there is a high incidence of juveniles on the coast.


There was a dramatic increase in Peru’s exports of fishmeal from 164 500 tonnes in the first quarter of 2018 to 374 400 tonnes in the same period of this year. China was the leading destination with 305 300 tonnes, about 169 500 tonnes more than in the same period last year. Peru exported a total of 57 800 tonnes of fish oil around the world in the first quarter of 2019, with Denmark being its largest consumer importing 15 500 tonnes of Peru’s fish oil. During this period, Peru’s total fish oil export to the world was 30 700 tonnes higher than in 2018. Denmark is also a key player in the fish oil export trade, exporting 38 000 tonnes during the review period. The total export volume grew by 12 000 tonnes regarding to same period in 2018. Norway is the largest consumer for Danish exports, taking 27 000 tonnes.


Despite the lower catch quota in Peru, balance is maintained by the high fishmeal stocks in China. Peruvian fishmeal production during the review period was good despite the reduced catch level, so the product will continue to arrive at Chinese ports. In the first three months of 2019, China imports increased to 312 900 tonnes (+78 percent) of fishmeal worth USD 444 million (+74 percent), compared with last year. More than 55 percent of the Chinese total imports were supplied by Peru. The first quarter is typically the seasonal low in terms of Chinese aquatic feed production. Fishmeal sales from port held inventories are slower during this period of the year. About 70 percent of fishmeal consumed in China are used to manufacture aquatic feed, but aquaculture farmers normally start to stock their ponds in April.


Chinese fishmeal prices remained stable in the first quarter of 2019, regardless of the high stock level of Chinese inventories. Prices for Peruvian super prime fishmeal peaked in late March at CNY 10 950 per tonne (USD 1 625 per tonne) in Shanghai but later dropped back to CNY 10 800 per tonne (USD 1 570 per tonne). Monthly average prices for Peruvian fishmeal experienced a drop from November 2018 but started to recover in February 2019. In April, monthly average prices for Peruvian fishmeal returned to a normal performance and remained stable through May. Monthly average Peruvian fish oil prices decreased from February to April of 2019, but overall, the prices are steadily growing. According to data published on 3 June from Undercurrent News, fishmeal prices from Peru were between USD 1 620–1 650 per tonne and fish oil prices were between USD 1 700-1 900 per tonne.


Landings of Peruvian anchovy have been quite positive so far this year, with 78 percent of the quota already taken. The current ban on harvesting might result in lower landings later in the season, as fishers may be reluctant to harvest due to poor weather conditions after the ban is lifted in early July. In addition, weather conditions in February and March have been showing that the El Niño phenomenon may return, and it is expected to affect this year’s harvest. Anchovy biomass was just 7 million tonnes, according to IMARPE, about 35 percent less than at the same time last year. To fulfil the current fishing season quota, Peru will need to land an average 35 000 tonnes per day, but with the ban in place, this may prove to be difficult. Prices for fishmeal and fish oil are expected to nudge up considering the reduction in the quota and the ban, in particular given the quota is about to be fulfilled. This will lead to no production of fishmeal and fish oil until the end of this year when the second fishing season commences.

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