Fisheries and farms across the globe support the livelihoods of 59.6 million people who rely on fishing and fishing related activities for income, and about 3.2 billion people who depend on fish as an important part of their diet. But illegal fishing is threatening the food supply of coastal communities as fish populations decline due to overfishing in areas fishers are not permitted to access. Fortunately, in Peru—one of the world’s leading producers of mahi mahi and squid—the government is taking action to clamp down on illegal fishing.
US businesses are backing Peru’s mahi mahi fishery in a big way. The Peruvian government recently received a letter from 26 major US-based seafood buyers and importers pledging their support for the Peruvian mahi mahi fishery improvement project (FIP) and urged officials to actively participate in the advancement of the fishery toward the MSC standard. The US is the top importer of mahi mahi from Peru, so this level of economic demand for responsibly sourced seafood is especially significant.
At the break of dawn on a warm February day, I was travelling in a van heading south along the Peruvian coast to the small port town of Pucusana. This is a place rich in culture and tradition, and home to a mahi mahi fishery where the community is working to conserve and secure its fish stocks for future generations of family fishers.