Article Index

Poster 3: What's in a name?

This poster illustrates just a small selection of associations that are conjured up when giving the name of a fish – in this case the emblematic Peruvian anchoveta – Engraulis ringens (by its scientific name).

Among the most obvious are the long historical use of this key stone species in the Peruvian upwelling ecosystem, its value in cultural practices and representations, but also the importance for employment, coastal and industrial offshore fishing, processing and the money made and lost in this industry.

The anchoveta is also what kept the guano birds happy and breeding and thus formed the basis of a once profitable saltpetre and fertiliser industry in Peru and northern Chile.

Last, but not least, the anchovy and the ecosystem in which it is embedded attracted extensive biological study, which documented its meteoritic rise to 13 million tons in 1972 as the biggest catch in the world until its collapse from a combination of overfishing and an El Niño event. It has become abundant again, in the nineties, but remains vulnerable to similar constellations as can be seen from Peruvian catches as updated in the Sea Around Us Project in 2010.

Do you see the delicate ceviche on the poster? What about introducing anchovies into the human diet rather than reducing it to fishmeal for piggeries and salmon farming? For one, it would create tremendous added value for the Peruvian and Chilean economies. See the video of Daniel Pauly suggesting just that.