Anchovy, Peruvian anchovy
Capture method — Seine nets
Capture area — South East Pacific (FAO 87)
Stock area — Central-Southern Chile Stock
Stock detail — Chile (Southern): 5-10
Updated: October 2020
The Chilean anchovy fishery occurs in the Humboldt Current System (HCS), one of the most productive ecosystems in the world. The stock is highly dependent on recruitment, which in turn changes with environmental and oceanographic conditions in the Chilean ecosystem, like El Nino and La Nina events.
There is some evidence based on reproductive parameters that two independent populations may exist in Central-Southern Chile. However, it is more likely, based on genetic and other scientific studies, that the Central-Southern Chilean stock is a single stock. Still, Chilean authorities assess and manage the stock as two different fishery units: as a central (Regions III and IV: Atacama and Coquimbo) and southern (Regions V to X: from Valparaiso to Los Lagos) component.
The Chilean anchovy has a high resilience to fishing pressure. The southern component of the Chilean Central-Southern anchovy stock biomass has advanced in its recovery and is now above the target biomass. Fishing pressure has greatly reduced since 2016 but still remains above sustainable limits. Chilean anchovy and Common sardine are harvested as part of a mixed pelagic fishery, in this region. A management plan for Chilean anchovy and Common sardine was officially adopted in 2015. Chile has a suite of management measures to protect the anchovy population so that the stock can remain stable, which include Total Allowable Catch (TAC) limits. In recent years TACs have generally been set in line with scientific advice, however, compliance to the TAC is variable.
Purse seining is a selective fishing gear, with little to no impact on the seabed, as nets do not tend to make contact with the seafloor. There is a lack of information regarding bycatch and ETP species for this fishery. Nonetheless, direct impacts to bycatch are likely to be low and measures are in place to minimise ETP mortalities. The main threat posed by the fishery to ETP species is via a reduction in food availability.
A member of the Engraulidae family, Peruvian anchovy is found in the eastern South Pacific along the coast of northern Peru, southwards to Chile. It forms huge schools in surface waters and is entirely dependent on the rich plankton of the Peruvian Current. It breeds throughout the year along the entire coast of Peru, but with a major spawning in winter/spring (July to September) and a lesser one in summer (February and March); also throughout the year off Chile, with peaks in winter (May to July) and the end of spring (especially December). Peruvian anchovy mature at about 1 year (about 10 cm standard length); attains about 8 cm standard length in 6 months, 10.5 cm in 12 months and 12 cm in 18 months (maximum length 20 cm); longevity about 3 years.
Criterion score: 0.5 info
The spawning stock biomass has advanced in its recovery and is now above the target biomass. However, the fished stock is still exploited above sustainable limits. The Chilean anchovy has a high resilience to fishing pressure.
The Chilean anchovy fishery occurs in the Humboldt Current System (HCS), one of the most productive ecosystems in the world. Climate variability in this region occurs at different scales: intraseasonal; interannual and interdecadal. The stock is highly dependant on recruitment, which in turn changes with environmental and oceanographic conditions in the Chilean ecosystem, like El Nino and La Nina events. It is projected that future climate changes in the coastal areas off Chile will have a moderate negative change in habitat suitability of anchovy due to warmer and poorer chlorophyll water.
The stock status of this fishery is currently uncertain. There is some evidence based on reproductive parameters that two independent populations may exist in Central-Southern Chile. However, it is more likely, based on genetic and other scientific studies, that the Central-Southern Chilean stock is only one stock. Still, Chilean authorities assess and manage the stock as two different fishery units: as a central (Regions III and IV: Atacama and Coquimbo) and southern (Regions V to X: from Valparaiso to Los Lagos) component.
Stock assessments are conducted by the Fisheries Development Institute of Chile (IFPO). Stock-recruitment and spawning periods are closely monitored by IFOP, per region. There is a consistent delay in the publication of IFOP stock assessment reports, only stock status summaries provided by the Technical Scientific Committee for Small Pelagics (CCT-PP) are available by the time TACs are defined. Hydro acoustic surveys are conducted biannually to evaluate the biomass of the stock and oceanographic conditions. Indirect assessments are conducted using a statistical catch-at-age model allowing the incorporation of supplementary information, such as Spawning Stock Biomass SSB, Catch Per Unit of Effort (CPUE), Fishing mortality (F), catch-by-age and year and recruitment indices.
The southern component of the Chilean anchovy stock (regions V-X) appears to be increasing in size. In 2019, total biomass was calculated at 786,931 tonnes (representing 126 billion individual fish), 314,601 tonnes (40%) were new recruits to the fishery. Biomass levels were equal to the historical average for the autumn survey and recruitment levels were the highest observed in 10 years. However, SSB has been below the management target points since 2009. In 2019, SSB (316,340 tonnes) was just below the biomass limit (Blim 341,000 tonnes) where recruitment may be impaired and less than half the value of the management target (SSBmsy 682,000 tonnes). Nonetheless, SSB has shown a mostly upward revision since 2011. Fishing mortality (F) has shown a significant reduction since 2016, but it is still above recommended levels. In 2019, F (0.54) was above the management target (0.39). The ratio of F:FMSY was 1.38.
Following the October 2019 report, CCT-PP confirmed that the anchovy stock (V-X) had moved away from the limit level of collapse (8% chance of being depleted) and was close to target biomass and above the Blim proxy (where recruitment may be impaired) as laid down in the management plan.
Absolute value of the latest dynamic reference point (MSY) and biomass estimates are not made available in the last stock status report (March 2020) for the spawning stock but only relative numbers. The stock condition is now considered as fully exploited by CCT-PP and SSB is estimated to be 24% above the management target; March 2020. The SSB estimated for 2020 increased 116% with respect to 2019. This has been mainly attributed to the strong recruitments in 2018 and 2019. The improved stock condition was projected in the stock status from September 2019.
IFOP’s assessments considers a range of sources of uncertainty, e.g. variability in CPUE data, environmental factors, and stock aggregation for habitat or reproduction, acoustic biomass estimation parameters. Life history parameters are also considered (growth, mortality and maturity), the process error inherent in the evaluation model and the short history of the fishery.
There are three distinct stocks of anchoveta (Engraulis ringens): Northern-Central Peruvian stock; Southern Peru/Northern Chile stock; and Chilean Central-Southern stock.
Criterion score: 0.5 info
There are management measures in place for the fishery, which are partly effective in managing the stock.
Chilean anchovy fisheries are divided into three management units: Regions XV to II; Regions III and IV; Regions V to X. Management of the Chilean anchovy units is issued and reviewed by the Chilean Undersecretary of Fisheries and Aquaculture (SUBPESCA) in accordance with the recommendations produced by the Fisheries Development Institute (Chile) (IFOP).
There is some uncertainty over the status of the Chilean Central-Southern stock, but it is likely to be a singular unit. In which case, the stock should be assessed and managed as one stock, rather than the Central and Southern components being assessed and managed unilaterally by Chile.
Chilean anchovy (anchoveta: Engraulis ringens) and Common sardine (araucanian herring: Strangomera bentincki) in the V-X Regions (the southern component of the Chilean Central-Southern anchovy stock) are harvested as part of a mixed pelagic fishery. These species are caught during the same period and area by artisanal and industrial fleets that fish for both using the same fishing gear (which is non-selective). A management plan for Chilean anchovy and Common sardine was officially adopted in 2015. The plan sets lines of action to address biological, economic, social and ecological matters. Fixed and mobile temporal closures to protect spawning stock and juveniles are included.
Adopted in 2013, the primary legal instrument for fisheries management in Chile has been the Chilean Fisheries Act ‘la Ley General de Pesca y Acuicultura’ (LGPA). One of the main objectives of the Act is to guarantee sustainability of Chile’s marine resources. Long term management plans, which reference the Act, ensure rules are in place to achieve this objective The LGPA defines a range of sanctions for offences including fishing with an unlicensed vessel, illegal discarding, incorrect logbook use, failure to report landings and fishing in a region or fishery other than the one for which the vessel is licenced. Other sanctions are in place for industrial vessels landing more fish than they have quota for. Depending on the offence, sanctions can include one or a combination of: monetary penalties; suspension of fishing licence; and revocation of licence. The LGPA also includes commitments to develop management plans for any fishery with restricted access, and to review and update these plans every five years. An update of the management plan for Chilean anchovy in the assessment area is due in 2020.
The LGPA does not establish catch restrictions when stocks are below limit biomass. Instead, Biologically Acceptable Catches (BAC’s) and a resource recovery plan must be implemented. A Management Committee is required to elaborate and implement recovery plans under Article 9 of this Act. Normally BAC’s are set up for two fishing seasons and fishing effort may be controlled depending on the period of the year. The precautionary approach is taken when allocating BAC’s.
A review of the 2013 Act has been undertaken recently. A team of international and local fisheries experts assisted the Chilean government with an extensive review of a new fisheries law in a bid to help the administration address public concerns. Although the FAO’s Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM) had been declared as a principle, it has not been implemented in practice. The review was delivered to Government in October 2016 and now constitutes a basis for ongoing discussion about reforms in the Law.
There is a consistent delay in the publication of IFOP stock assessment reports, only stock status summaries provided by the Technical Scientific Committee for Small Pelagics (CCT-PP) are available by the time Total Allowable Catch is defined. Annual catch limits can be modified in an adaptive way during the year as a result of updated scientific data. However, the CCT-PP has reported that reducing the set catch limit has a high administrative burden and has opted to maintain the status quo in catch advice in such cases.
The fishery is managed by annual Total Allowable Catch (TAC). Since 2015, TACs have been set in line with scientific advice, except the 2018 TAC (set 20% above advice). Compliance to the TAC has been poor since 2014. Between 2015 and 2019, on average landings have been 40% above the annual quota. In the most recent years (2017-2019), landings have been 100%, 106% and 124% of the TAC, respectively. Although the 2019 quota of anchoveta was exceeded by 24% (30,000 tonnes), this was within the maximum 40% cap of the lower quota, by the joint allocation measure applied for the mixed fishery of the anchoveta and Araucanian herring. A joint allocation scheme for mixed fisheries was foreseen to discourage discarding of the species that attained its limit and has been in place since 2018 for this fishery. This management approach has been flagged by the CCT-PP as a concern, as it may lead to significant overpassing of the quotas and undermine rebuilding efforts when one of the stocks is in poor condition. A harvest control rule for this mixed fishery of anchoveta and Araucanian herring is under development by the Management Committee.
Workshops have been provided by Government to demonstrate best fishing practice including minimising discards and bycatch. Temporary closure orders have been issued by Government when high proportions of juvenile anchovy have been detected. When large quantities of juveniles are detected closure orders may be extended for periods of one week to fifteen days or more. Annual temporal closures for the anchovy and sardine fishery in V-X protect spawning stock and juveniles, closures are mobile and depend on monitoring of the biological indicators.
Compliance to regulations, both within and outside Chile’s Exclusive Economic Zone, is monitored by a number of different entities: SERNAPESCA; Chilean Navy; and observer Programmes. A Project FIPA (2018-49) has been launched by the Chilean Ministry, which involves the design and implementation of management strategies in the assessment area (X-V). Recommendations from CCT-PP will be incorporated in this Project in order to strengthen harvest control rules in the fishery.
Currently, new access to this fishery is prohibited. A maximum catch limit per vessel owner regime has been established for industrial sector as well as an artisanal extraction regime for the artisanal sector (Regions V, VIII and X). Other management strategies include the obligatory use of vessel monitoring systems (VMS) and the recent mandatory use of on-board cameras to identify and quantify discards. Discarding is illegal in Chile, but discards and under-reporting have been known to occur. Estimates from a research programme (2016-17) considered discards to be 4% for the period 2001-15, 2% for 2016, 6% for 2017 and 2018, and 2% in 2019, in this fishery.
In 2005, a national action plan was approved with the aim of preventing, deterring and eliminating IUU fishing. The fishery is monitored and there is currently no evidence of widespread IUU fishing activities. Chile is now involved in an international program to avoid illegal fishing; ‘’Acuerdo sobre medidas del Estado rector del Puerto“ (Port State Measures). This program obliges landings from other countries to be controlled by Chile and applies to foreign flagged vessels fishing in Chilean waters.
Criterion score: 0.5 info
Chilean anchovy is caught by seine nets in southern Chile.
Chilean anchovy (anchoveta, Engraulis ringens) and Common sardine (araucanian herring, Strangomera bentincki), in the southern Chilean regions (V-X), are harvested as part of a mixed pelagic fishery. These species are caught during the same period and area by artisanal and industrial fleets that fish for both using the same fishing gear (which is non-selective). There is little to no impact on ecosystems caused by seine nets and there are measures in place to protect juveniles that can be involved in the trophic chain of predators, considered ETP. Bycatch, ETP, habitat and ecosystem effects of the fishery do not appear to be significant. The main impacts to the ecosystem is the removal of anchovy on the food chain rather than through bycatch.
Anchoveta is a pelagic species distributed at water depths ranging between 15-70 m during the day and between 5-20 m at night. In Chile, artisanal purse seines can reach depths of between 55-245 m, while industrial nets can reach 110-915 m. Seine net fisheries are not deemed to significantly impact the seafloor unless used in shallow waters, as nets are mostly deployed at greater depths where bottom contact does not occur. In Chile, industrial vessels cannot operate within the 5 nm coastal zone. This regulation is directly related to the opportunities of protecting and recovering coastal pelagic resources, being of benefit mainly to anchovy and common sardine.
A major challenge in recent years has been the prevalence in commercial catches of juveniles. The purse seine is a non-selective fishing gear in relation to fish size, since the mesh size used is small enough (1/2” or 9/16”) to prevent mass escapes through the net, even of the smallest-sized juvenile specimens of anchovy or common sardine found in summer (as small as 5 cm total length). To counteract the effects of the purse seine fishery on juvenile populations’ closed seasons are implemented to protect the main recruitment period. Workshops have been provided by the Chilean government to stakeholders in order to demonstrate best fishing practice including minimising discards and bycatch.
The impact of the fishery (V-X) on other species does not appear to be significant. Fishers can previously select target species, since fishermen’s experience and the use of echo sounders and sonar allow the species to be identified before setting the net. However, on some occasions, the catch trapped in the sack is released by opening the net when non-targeted schools have been caught, and high levels of mortality may occur. The main bycatch species of this fishery is jack mackerel (Trachurus murphyi). A programme of scientific observers is in place in some areas of Chile (North Chile and Valparaiso a Los Lagos) to investigate the impact of discards and bycatch in the artisanal and industrial fishery of anchoveta. Specific logbook data for recording bycatch, incidental and ETP species capture according to FAO and ORP protocol (2017-2018) are available. In central Chilean purse-seine fisheries, higher mortalities (>1,500 observed mortalities 2015-17) have been observed of Pink-foot shearwater (Ardenna creatopus), vulnerable seabirds that breed only in Chile.
Chile is a member of the Agreement of the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels and as such, it is committed to achieve and maintain a favourable conservation status of albatrosses and petrels. The list of species to which the agreement applies includes 22 species of albatross and 9 species of petrels.
The greatest impact of this fishery might be a reduction in food availability and decrease in the availability of anchovy as an important prey for many species, including Endangered, Threatened or Protected (ETP) species. Foraging efficiency of breeding seabirds may be significantly affected by not only global quantities of the stock, but also temporal and spatial patterns of fishery removals. An ecosystem approach to fisheries management could limit the risk of local depletion around breeding colonies using, for instance, adaptive marine protected areas. Anchovy is an important prey for a range of ETP species and there are concerns about Burmeister’s porpoise (Phocoena spinipinnis: status unknown) the Guanay Cormorant (Phalacrocorax bougainvillii: Near Threatened – IUCN) and green turtle (Chelonia mydas: Endangered - IUCN) which feed extensively on anchovy and may also feed on Common sardine. Efforts taken to protect ETP species in Chile including the establishment of five major Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) covering 41% of Chile’s Exclusive Economic Zones (12% of which are highly protected/fully implemented). The MPAs represent important refuges for seabirds and marine mammals.
The fishery for anchovy is known to interact with several ETP species of sea turtles, marine mammals, seabirds and sharks, most of which are released just after being caught. Among these, are the Humboldt Penguin (Spheniscus humboldti: Vulnerable - IUCN), Peruvian Diving Petrel (Pelecanoides garnotii: Endangered - IUCN) and Smooth Hammerhead (Sphyrna zygaena: Vulnerable - IUCN). In Chile, a manual of good practices to avoid discarding and incidental capture of ETP species has been provided to all stakeholders active in the fishery. A manual of good practices and treatment of ETP species is also under development in the artisanal fisheries (sea lions). Workshops have been undertaken to present manuals and best practice training to stakeholders in the fishery. There is no substantial evidence that the fishery has a significant negative effect on ETP species. If the fishery is known to interact with ETP species, measures are in place to minimise mortality.
Several mitigation measures on the interaction of the fishery with ETP species, were recommended in the recently published discard reduction plan. Developments to improve knowledge of potential impacts of the fishery on ETP species include: A software platform developed for the registry of incidental fishing in the operation of industrial fleets (XV-X); On-board vessel protocols for the release and treatment of ETP fauna; Training programs for crews of fishing vessels.
Further research into resource competition between the fishery and top-predators such as seabirds is required.
Based on method of production, fish type, and consumer rating: only fish rated 2 and below are included as an alternative in the list below. Click on a name to show the sustainable options available.Anchovy, European anchovy
Anchovy, Peruvian anchovy
Herring or sild
Horse Mackerel, Scad
Salmon, Chum, Keta, Calico or Dog salmon
Salmon, Pink, Spring , humpback
Salmon, Sockeye , Red Salmon, Bluebacks, Redfish
Sardine, European pilchard, sardines
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