The majority of anchovies consumed in the UK are from Peru, called the Peruvian anchoveta (Engraulis ringens). The anchoveta fishery is one of the most important commercial fisheries in the world. In 2015, the total landings were 3.6 million tonnes.
Anchovy fishing vessels at Chimbote port in Peru. The vessel in the foreground is considered ‘medium sized’ and supplies its catch to the DHC sector. The vessels in the background are ‘industrial sized’ and supply their catch to the fishmeal and fish oil sector.
The majority of the catch is used for fish oil and fishmeal as well as fresh, frozen, canned or cured to be sold in stores across the world.
The Peruvian anchovy post-harvest.
The fish stock is currently considered healthy. However, there is a need to improve management to ensure that the stock isn’t overfished.
Lovering Foods, Asda’s supplier of tinned anchovies, is working with their supplier Grupo Consorcio and Latin American fisheries NGO CeDePesca. In October 2016, they set up a Fisheries Improvement Project (FIP).
The goal of the FIP is to meet Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standards within a three-year period. MSC is a rigorous and globally recognised standard on seafood sustainability.
The fishery will meet this standard by tackling four key improvement areas:
1) Ecological modelling to understand the anchovy’s role in the ecosystem;
2) Assisting the Peruvian government to implement and enforce harvest control rules, including quotas;
3) Hosting inter-institutional workshops to reduce illegal landings that impact the anchovy stock’s health; and
4) On-board investigations into the fishing fleet’s potential impact on Endangered, Threatened and Protected (ETP) species, and any necessary mitigation efforts following these results.
This will lead to better fisheries management as well as increased job security for over 50,000 Peruvians who work in the anchoveta sector.
Thanks to the work of the FIP, nutritional, affordable, and sustainable Peruvian anchovies will be available to Asda’s customers on pizza and more well into the future.
The Peruvian anchovy finally arrives at Asda in the UK, from Peru via Spain, to use as a tasty ingredient in pasta sauces, pizzas, salads, or dips, or even to enjoy as a snack.
All image credits to Caitlin Schindler, Lovering Foods