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22 Nov 2021

Peru Support Group

Peru: Artisanal fishermen complain that Chinese fishing companies put their livelihood under threats over harms on their traditional practices

“Artisanal fishermen complain their livelihood is under threat” – 20 November 2021

An interesting article written by Leslie Moreno Custodio and published by the Wilson Center in Washington points to the problems afflicting small-scale fishermen working in the seas off Paita in Piura region. Here artisanal fishermen complain about the inroads being made on their catch of Humboldt squid – known locally as ‘pota’ – by Chinese fishing vessels. They also complain about the attempts of the Peruvian government to ‘formalise’ their industry…The volume of Humboldt squid exports has increased from about 40,000 tonnes in 2000 to 750,000 tonnes in 2020. This has led to frequent claims of overfishing. The Instituto del Mar del Perú has recently recommended that the catch should be limited to 580,000 tonnes. Artisanal fishermen have to compete with largely unregulated activity by larger Peruvian vessels…Fishermen from Paita used to fish mainly hake and horse mackerel, but stocks of these have declined notably, making squid an attractive alternative. Now they want the government to take steps to regulate catches in order to preserve stocks. Peru has no closed season for squid fishing and there is no minimum catch size…The number of Chinese boats fishing offshore from Peru has quintupled since 2010. Many of these deliberately avoid using the international identification system. The Chinese authorities have introduced tougher rules to regulate the activities of their fishing fleet. However, trawler captains appear routinely to disregard these. Peruvian fishermen say that the government has failed to stand up for their interests.