Chile Small Pelagics

Multi-Fishery Improvement

Chile Small Pelagics

  • Species Name: Anchoveta (Engraulis ringens); Spanish sardine (Sardinops sagax); Araucanian herring/common sardine (Strangomera bentincki); Falkland sprat (Sprattus fuegensis)
  • Location/Region: Anchoveta northern stock, Chile regions XV, I (Arica y Parinacota), and II (Antofagasta); Anchoveta central stock, Regions III (Atacama) and IV (Coquimbo); Araucanian herring/common sardine, Chile regions V (Valparaíso) - X (Los Lagos); Falkland sprat, Chile region X (Los Lagos) and & XI (Aysen)
  • Gear Type: Purse seine (anchoveta and Spanish sardine); Seine net (Araucanian herring/common sardine and Falkland sprat)
  • Volume: 770,000,000 MT (anchovy & sardine)

© Antonio Busiello / WWF-US
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Chile Small Pelagics

Project Stage: Exploratory Phase
Last Updated: October 2021

The Humboldt Current that runs along the west coast of Chile and Peru is one of the most biodiverse and productive marine ecosystems in the world. As the world’s largest upwelling system, it supports the Chilean and Peru anchoveta fisheries, which are the biggest fisheries in the world. They provide livelihoods for thousands of families that depend on them and are a critical part of the food chain, supporting a diversity of species – including whales, dolphins, turtles, sharks, and rays – and habitats in the Humboldt Current. In addition to their critical role in the ecosystem and contribution to marine biodiversity in the waters off Chile, one of the human uses of these fisheries is the production of fishmeal – a key ingredient in salmon feed. Chile is the second largest producer of farmed salmon in the world, making it one of the most valuable economic activities in the country.

Critical issues challenging these fisheries include overfishing; illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing; and need for ecosystem-based management. The key sustainability issues that stakeholders will address through this project will positively impact the pelagic fisheries as well as farmed salmon production regionally and globally.

The active involvement of stakeholders and participants will drive this fishery to improve performance against the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard.

© Meridith Kohut / WWF-US


© Meridith Kohut / WWF-US

We will work with stakeholders to implement activities to address the cross-cutting issues identified in the initial assessment and draft action plan. In addition, we plan to bring together national and international experts to build capacity among local decision-makers and stakeholders (government officials, industrial, and artisanal fishers, academics, and researchers) on high-priority issues that cross-cut multiple pelagic fisheries. The result we aim to achieve is that these decision-makers will be better positioned to improve current management strategies across the pelagic fisheries. We also aim to scale this work more broadly throughout other Latin American pelagic fisheries. All this work will move the fisheries closer to meeting the MSC Standard.

Project Supporters

We encourage action across the supply chain to support fishery progress. Project supporters are industry members that are part of the seafood supply chain for the fishery product and are actively engaged in supporting the project.

Recent Achievements

  • Develop draft action plan. Conducted an analysis to identify key gaps and cross-cutting measures that could be taken by government and private actors to improve the sustainability of these fisheries, moving them simultaneously closer to meeting the MSC standard. Through multi-stakeholder workshops, we were able to prioritize these measures, develop a draft action plan, cost identification, and build trust and commitment among actors for future work in this area.

Next steps: Socialize draft action plan with key stakeholders, foster agreements, and define roles and responsibilities of prospective FIP participants and stakeholders.

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