The Peru Mahi Alliance (PMA), a pre-competitive partnership of 13 Peruvian mahi mahi companies, will be launched officially on March 14th at the Seafood Expo North America (SENA) in Boston, with the presence of major U.S. buyer companies. PMA represents almost 80% of Peru’s mahi mahi exports to the US and is committed to advancing the Peru mahi mahi Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) through activity implementation, political advocacy efforts, and funding.

“The mahi mahi fishery is the second most important artisanal fishery in Peru. It is a fishery that supports over 10,000 fishers and there is a strong demand for more sustainable Peruvian mahi mahi in the US market. That’s why we are extremely thrilled to see the Peru Mahi Alliance being launched. It is critical to have more local industry involvement in the Peru mahi mahi FIP, and with the Peru Mahi Alliance’s help, we hope to see the FIP advance more rapidly to achieve the long-term sustainability of this important fishery.”

Dean Holzer, President of D&E Import LLC.

US Buyers Supporting Change

Last July, eleven mahi mahi importing companies in the United States recognized the Peru Mahi Alliance (PMA), for the efforts they make to achieve the conservation and sustainable management of the mahi mahi fishery, through a public letter signed by important seafood buyers. Mahi mahi importing companies in the United States, in collaboration with WWF, have been supporting the implementation of the Peru Mahi Mahi FIP to drive improvements of the fishery against the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Standard and deploy a robust traceability system that complies with the US government’s Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP) and Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability (GDST) interoperability standards.

A female and a male Mahi Mahi fish on the deck of a boat in Ecuador
© WWF-US / Molly Edmonds

US companies that support the FIP include AFFCO Trading, Inc., Beaver Street Fisheries, Inc., Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods/Thai Union, Confremar USA LLC, Costco Wholesale, D&E Import LLC, Hilo Fish Company, Inc., Hyatt Corporation, Inland Seafood, Marriott International, Pescanova USA, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., Sea Delight, LLC, Seattle Fish Co., LLC, Sodexo, Sysco Corporation, The Fishin’ Company, and The Kroger Co.

Fifty percent of the world’s mahi mahi catch comes from Peru, generating a value between 90-100 million USD in exports for the country, with the United States being its main market. The United States as well as other foreign markets around the world are demanding products that come from sustainable and legal fisheries, and mahi mahi is no exception. To that end, there is an increasing number of buyers demanding MSC certification or products from fisheries in FIPs moving towards MSC.

Grassroot Leadership from the Peruvian Seafood Industry

The PMA was born because the participation and leadership of the Peruvian industry in the promotion, dissemination, and implementation of the FIP is key to achieve the sustainability of the mahi mahi fishery.

“The mahi mahi fishery supports an important socio-economic activity for Peru. We are excited about officially launching the Peru Mahi Alliance with the support of WWF and our US partners. This coalition is an important step in the path we have ahead of us for the development of the mahi mahi FIP. We recognize that there is still a long way to go to ensure that the Peruvian mahi mahi fishery is certifiable, but the engagement of all supply chain actors in the FIP is key, and we aspire to become a leading association in the fisheries sector that actively contributes to the sustainable development of the mahi mahi fishery and the strengthening of its value chain.”

Michael McGregor, General Manager of OCEANO SEAFOOD and President of the Peru Mahi Alliance.

The mahi mahi fishery generates thousands of jobs in Peru, however, ensuring its sustainability requires the involvement and will of all key actors including the fishers, government, and companies along the supply chain.

The Peru Mahi Alliance has already made important strides in advancing the mahi mahi FIP through the implementation of its annual workplan developed in coordination with WWF. The Alliance played a critical role in the adoption by Peru’s Ministry of Production (PRODUCE) of the mahi mahi fishery management regulation (ROP) in July 2021, which will help ensure that the fishery is sustainably managed over time.

The PMA has also helped strengthen scientific knowledge of the species by donating 84 mahi mahi samples to the Peruvian Institute of the Sea (IMARPE) to use for biological research. It has trained 141 artisanal fishers across 64 vessels on best practices for handling and release of sea turtles and distributed bycatch reduction toolkits to 57 vessels and is supporting a pilot electronic monitoring project to improve collection of catch and bycatch data. Additionally, it published a responsible mahi mahi sourcing policy in which members agree to uphold shared values that include integrity, human rights, using an ecosystem approach, and continuous improvement, among others.

Currently, the Peru Mahi Alliance is made up of 13 mahi mahi processing companies which include: Altamar Foods, COINREFRI, DEXIM, Fernandez SRL, Fish Olg, Mai Shi Group, Oceano Seafood, Peruvian Seafood, Produmar, Produpesca, SEAFROST, Sercosta, and Spring Valley Fruit/Agropesca.

The Peru Mahi Alliance official launch will take place on Monday, March 14th, 8 AM- 9:30 AM, Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (Room 254A), Boston, MA. Please click here for details and to RSVP. Please click here for the event flyer.