Fishmeal and fish oil are increasingly important products derived from the processing of small pelagic or other low-trophic-level species. The rising demand for fishmeal and fish oil is due to their high nutritional value, providing an easily digestible and protein-rich resource to the aquaculture and livestock sectors. This rising dependence on fish oil and fishmeal has led to sustainability challenges in the main fisheries supplying raw material. Despite improvements in sustainability made by the fish oil and fishmeal sector during the last 10 years, several fisheries around the globe still face serious challenges.

The South America sub-region concentrates some of the most important fish stocks used for the production of fish oil and fishmeal. Species used for marine ingredients in Central and South America include anchoveta, Pacific anchoveta, Araucanian herring, and jack mackerel. Stocks are mainly concentrated in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, along the coasts of Peru and Chile, where anchoveta stocks alone represent approximately 30 percent of the world’s fishmeal and fish oil production. While this roundtable was initially intended to cover the South America sub-region, its scope was broadened to all of Latin America in April 2017, with the aim of including all raw material sources used by the roundtable participants.

The Latin American Reduction Fisheries Supply Chain Roundtable (SR) focuses on monitoring sustainability status and performance of fisheries used for fishmeal and fish oil production. SFP’s approach with this project is to convene suppliers and buyers to support and encourage improvement activities and help meet market requirements.

The SR provides a platform (both physical and virtual) to discuss matters of common interest, identify fisheries where improvements are required, catalyze FIPs, explore models for financing FIPs, and develop procurement specifications promoting sustainability.

The T75 sector report for reduction fisheries details the state of the sector. According to the report, in August 2017, 7.4 million tonnes, or 41 percent of the global production in reduction fisheries, was considered sustainable or improving. The vast majority of this volume is under the Atlantic/Pacific reduction fishery sub-sector, which, if considered by itself, would have met the T75 goal already.

The Latin American Reduction Fisheries SR focuses on monitoring sustainability status and performance of fisheries used for fishmeal and fish oil production in Latin America. Much of this production is already sustainable or improving; the roundtable’s role is to shift volume from the improving to the sustainable category, and to ensure that no production is removed from these categories.

FIPs and/or Fisheries Covered:

For more details on the sustainability status of the fisheries, progress of the FIPs, and improvement recommendations, please click here.

The Latin American Reduction Fisheries SR focuses on South and Central American reduction fisheries. SFP’s FishSource database contain sustainability information on the main fish stocks supplying raw material to the marine ingredients industry.

The following FIPs are supported and monitored: 

The SR is working to develop FIPs in the following fisheries:

  • Chile Southern Central anchovy and sardine     
  • Southern Chile sardine

Current Supply Chain Roundtable Participants include:

Cargill Aqua Nutrition Chile (EWOS)
Los Fiordos
Skretting Chile

Improvement needs, objectives, and action recommendations for 2020 are in development, and will be published after the annual SR meeting.

Progress Update

A summary of past progress can be found in our SR Chronicles.

Improvement Needs 

  • Improved, peer reviewed, and adequately tested stock assessment models that consider environmental variables, forming the basis of the management strategies.
  • Management plans for the relevant fisheries, with specific management measures and harvest control rules that consider the role of key target species in the ecosystem.
  • Specific management objectives and harvest strategies for the different stocks.
  • Improved intergovernmental coordination in science and management, which is key for transboundary stocks.
  • Improved knowledge of the ecosystem needs and the interactions of the key fisheries with the ecosystem.
  • Improved data-gathering systems. Data needs include improved reporting of catches and discards, as well as interactions with habitats and non-target species. 

Current Objectives

  • Review status of relevant reduction fishery stocks in South and Central American waters and identify improvement needs.
  • Identify improvement work underway and in need of additional support.
  • Discuss future partnership and cooperation opportunities to improve key fisheries.
  • Encourage industry to initiate fishery improvement projects (FIPs) where improvements are still needed.
  • Monitor and support good progress of FIPs already underway.
  • Provide briefings on emerging sustainability issues in the region that may impact supply, certification, corporate reputation, and other areas important to the seafood industry. 

Action Recommendations for the Supply Chain

  • Advocate for the development of annual stock assessments that incorporate improved catch data, and consider the effects of environmental variability on the population. Stock assessment results should be peer reviewed and publicly reported.
  • Request relevant government authorities to develop/support current ongoing efforts to develop long-term management plans for the different stocks, with explicit harvest strategies and reference points that take into account the role of the key target species in the ecosystem.
  • Work with scientists and managers to enhance current available knowledge of the ecosystem needs, along with ecosystem interactions including, among others, improved reporting of catches and discards, as well as interactions with habitats and all types of non-target species.
  • In those cases where management plans have already been developed, encourage and support prompt implementation.
  • Encourage government authorities to establish coordinated fishery research and management plans for transboundary stocks.
  • Engage in specific FIPs if you or any of your suppliers source fishmeal from these fisheries.

Project Contact

If you would like more information about the Supply Chain Roundtable or wish to support it, please contact Renato Gozzer.

A summary of past progress, including highlights from past quarterly updates, can be found in our SR Chronicles

Quarterly Latin American Reduction Fisheries SR Update – July to December 2019

This briefing provides an update on progress, activities, and news in the areas of interest to the SR. It also indicates any actions and further support needed. 

1. Improvements in Target 75 Priority Fisheries

Please find an overview of fisheries identified in the T75 Reduction Fisheries Sector Report, including those currently not necessarily prioritized by the SR here.

Ecuadorian Small Pelagics:

Update: The National Fisheries Chamber (CNP) has positively advanced project implementation and published the FIP on its own website, where information related to the small pelagic fishery, including bulletins and technical reports, journal articles, scientific articles, and regulations can be found.

The FIP established an office and hired three professionals to be part of the FIP technical team, to support the INP in assessing both the small pelagic fish stocks and the fishery impacts on ETP species and the ecosystem.

The FIP coordinator and a representative of the small pelagic industry participated in a field trip to Galicia, so that they could:

  • Understand small-scale fisheries governance and management systems that meet the highest sustainability standards, with a special focus on small pelagics
  • Understand surveillance and control systems used to guarantee enforcement or contribute to the compliance of small-scale fisheries management plans
  • See how catch size selectivity is ensured through management measures and the use of fishing gears
  • Understand the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders involved in the management system of small pelagic species, from the EU administration to fishermen guilds.

The lessons learned from this trip were shared with the FIP members during a FIP monthly meeting.

The stock assessment scientist presented his final report, which includes diagnosis and stock assessment of small pelagic fishes in situations where data and methodologies permit, and biological reference points and proposed harvest control rules. Dr. Carolina Minte conducted a peer review of the general performance of the stock assessment approach, its application, and results for relevant small pelagic species in Ecuador.

The FIP signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Deputy Secretary of Fisheries to coordinate activities related to the governance and control and enforcement of the small pelagic fishery in Ecuador.

The FIP achieved a C rating, is running well, and is moving quickly in implementing its workplan, thanks in part to the scientific support in stock assessments.

Further support needed: SR to leverage other FIP participants to make the FIP public, preferably through

Chile Southern Central Anchovy and Sardine:

Update: The SR decided to prioritize efforts in the development of improvements in the stock assessment model for all Chilean small pelagics fisheries, instead of focusing on one specific fishery/FIP. Hence, financing the launch of individual FIPs will be postponed to 2020. There is general support from SR participants and fishmeal plants.

In August 2019, an official independent audit recommended that two stocks of anchoveta in Chile (Regions XV-II and III-IV) get IFFO RS certification. The fishmeal plants in Regions III and IV did not then have IFFO certification, so the buyers agreed to get in touch with them to push them and they are now IFFO certified.

Further support needed: Connect SFP with fishmeal producers to explore interest in catalyzing the FIP in 2020.

2. Support to Established FIPs and Improvement Efforts

Please find an overview of all existing FIPs and improvement efforts, their current progress ratings, and status here.

Update: Currently all established FIPs are rated A-C.

No further support needed.

3. Support for Mitigation of Overarching Fishery/FIP Sustainability Issues

Relevant news: The SR decided to prioritize the development of a stock assessment model for Chilean small pelagics. SFP had several meetings with IFOP and SUBPESCA to explore improvement of the stock assessment model, develop a TOR, and hire an international stock assessment specialist. The project was presented to the SR participants, who agreed on the TOR and consultant. SFP developed a policy report based on 184 interviews with representative players in the Peruvian fisheries. The Peru policy brief was presented to the SR participants in December, and a meeting is planned for 2020. It can be accessed here.

The SR participants convened representatives from Peruvian residual fishmeal plants to discuss the opportunities to catalyze a FIP to work toward IFFO-RS. These plants process residuals from anchoveta, hake, mahi-mahi, and jumbo flying squid, among others. However, some of these plants are allegedly involved in illegal processing of anchoveta. The SR wants to support them in defining criteria to separate those who are using bad practices from those that are not.

Further support needed: SFP will present policy briefs on Peru and Chile to SR participants, so that they can understand policy improvement needs. The Peruvian policy brief has already been developed and presented to the SR, while the Chilean policy brief is still in the consultation process.

4. Expansion of the SR

Update: A call in September with all SR members included introductions of new regional representatives from already participating companies to widen the scope of participation. A main topic was the stock assessment model development for Chilean small pelagics.

Some SR companies have merged, increasing their representation and leverage at the table. Skretting and Cargill have now also added their Ecuador businesses to the roundtable. Los Fiordos merged with other companies into AquaChile.

Further support needed: SR participants attended an in-person meeting on January 16, 2020, in Lima. The minutes of this meeting will be presented as soon as they are available.