By Alex Emery
Peru, the world's largest fishmeal exporter, will see anchovy catches by companies including Copeinca ASA (COP) and Austevoll Seafood ASA (AUSS) drop by a quarter as the country seeks to boost stocks depleted by last year's El Nino phenomenon, a government official said.
Anchovy quotas will be cut to 2.05 million metric tons in the fishing season that starts next month from 2.5 million tons a year earlier, Fisheries Minister Gladys Triveno said. Peru's oceanographic institute Imarpe will determine the quota for the next season starting in November, she said.
"We're seeing a rebound in fish stocks to 10.8 million tons from 5.3 million tons in November, but we prefer to be cautious," Triveno said today in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Lima. "We may be able to recover this year if we take care of our resources."
Anchovy catches plunged 48 percent to 3.7 million metric tons in 2012 as an El Nino weather pattern sent fish into deeper waters, according to the National Fisheries Society. Fishing is Peru's largest export earner after the mining, oil and natural gas industries.
Prime fishmeal prices, which jumped 63 percent over the past year to a record $2,230 a ton through April 10, helped spur a 5 percent increase in Peru's fish export revenue to a record $3.27 billion last year, according to the fishing group.
Peru will award the first tuna licenses in the second half in a bid to diversify the country's fishing industry into higher-value species including giant squid, eel and mackerel, Triveno said. Companies will invest a total $148 million this year in plant upgrades and conversion of idle trawlers to catch tuna, according to the fishing group.
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