This content is from: Local Insights

Defining the fishing agenda

Ursula Letona Pereyra

In June 2011, Peruvians are voting for their next president. In that context, this is a good moment to evaluate the policies that the government of President García has introduced in relation to fishing activity, principally in respect to the fishmeal and fish oil industry.

Peru's adjacent sea is an exceptional area full of well-valued species. In consequence the Ministry of Production (the authority competent to regulate and administrate fishing activities in Peru) has the objective of approving policies that protect marine species and ensure their sustainable development.

The Maximum Catch Limits per Vessel Law, approved by Legislative Decree 1084 in June 2008, establishes the individual transferable quotas system for the anchovy fishing activity dedicated to fishmeal and fish oil production. For that reason, the 1600 seiners registered before the Ministry of Production has a maximum catch limit assigned. In consequence, since 2009, the year that the system entered in force, each company knows how many tons of anchovies it can extract.

However, the system requires some complementary dispositions that ensure its objectives are accomplished. Specifically, it seems that the Ministry of Production needs to improve its supervision and control programmes. According to official statistics, fishmeal production is higher than the production expected according to the total quota authorised by the Ministry: fishing companies are avoiding official supervision or unregistered vessels are fishing illegally.

The Ministry of Production is the authority responsible for the correct implementation of the Fishing and Supervision Programme; nowadays many problems arise in its regular operation, such as changes in fishing activity, principally the application of the individual transferable quotas system, and the requirement for qualified staff. In this respect, it seems that fishing supervision activities must be put under the charge of an independent authority, as is the case in other regulated activities in Peru such as mining and oil and gas.

The application of individual transferable quotas to the anchovy fishing activity is the most important policy related to the Peruvian fishing sector. However, all important policies need complementary disposition that allows their better function. The supervision programme is one of those aspects that needs renewal; and this is probably one of the missions for the next president.

Ursula Letona Pereyra

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