Anchovetta catch in Peru and Chile

Aquaculture businesses worldwide are waiting to see how El Nino will affect supplies and prices of fish meal, with an especially wary eye on the situation for anchovetta fish meal which originate principally from Peru and Chile. According to the FAO, in 1995, poultry farms accounted for 50% of global consumption of fish meal followed by swine (25%) and aquaculture (15%).

Water temperatures in Peruvian anchovy fishing areas are running 1.7-5.3 degrees above normal. Reports from fisheries indicate anchovies are migrating south to escape the warm waters, and Peruís loss may be Chileís gain. However, anchovy fishing in Chile has been hampered by very bad weather. Alternative sources of fish meal such as capelin meal from Iceland and Denmark are much higher priced.

In a recent article in Fish Farming International, decreased anchovetta catches were tabulated with previous El Nino events as follows:


Intensity of El Nino


% Change in Catch

1951 Moderate 7 0
1953 Weak 6 0
1957-58 Strong 11 0
1965 Moderate 6 -18.3
1969 Weak 5 -12.4
1972-73 Strong 14 -55.5
1976 Moderate 7 -27.2
1982-83 Strong 10 -56.1
1987 Weak/Moderate 3 -22.7
1991-92 Moderate 9 -23.8

It is forecast that fishing companies will hold onto their stocks of fish meals and speculate on obtaining higher prices in the coming months, which could mean sharply increased costs of fish and shrimp feeds for aquaculture farmers in 1998.

Back to The 1997 El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO 97-98)