Oceana Peru published a research about illegal fishmeal production in the northern and central Peruvian coast. The study identified 62 facilities involved in this crime, methods used to alter the course of fresh anchoveta for Direct Human Consumption (DHC) in order to produce “dark fishmeal”, as well as its supply and trade routes.
“This problem hinders innovation, and causes serious damage to economy, environment and sustainability of marine resources,” said Oceana in Peru’s Fisheries Director Juan Carlos Sueiro. He also highlighted that around 150 thousand tons of fresh anchoveta are diverted every year.
According to Fisheries Specialist and co-author of the study Jorge Grillo, Pisco – in southern Peru – houses the largest number of illegal plants with 10 facilities producing high-protein fishmeal and oil at an estimated cost of $32 million annually.
Ancash, Piura and Lima have altogether 25 residual fishmeal plants that stocked up on anchoveta intended to DHC plants; or they just simply buy fresh anchoveta from artisanal and small-scale fishing.
On the other hand, drying plains buy remains from DHC plants, but also purchase anchoveta from artisanal and small-scale fleets when oversupply. There are 10 locations in Pisco and 14 in Ancash.
We also identified a clear difference between the increased number of plants that cure fish and its production. Although there are 73 plants nationwide, only five companies export 46.5 percent of the national total.
A panel discussion of experts addressed the study. This roundtable included specialists from the fishing sector: José Romero Glenny (Director of the Ministry of Production’s Oversight, Audit and Sanction Department), Elena Conterno (President of National Fisheries Society), and Magaly Ávila (Director of Environmental Governance in Proetica).
These specialists agreed on the urgent need to bolster audit and monitoring measures for landings until the trading phase, with aims to involve institutions with complementary competences, such as SUNAT (national tax authority), Environmental Prosecutor's Office, regional governments, etc.
They also highlighted that in order to fight corruption in control points, it is necessary to apply a traceability system to review fishing permits, catch volumes and areas. Finally, we shall foster transparency through free public online data and have more channels to file complaints.