Peru has some of the most productive coastal waters in the world thanks to the upwelling of the nutrient-rich Humboldt Current and the recurrent resets in productivity brought on by El Niño events. Its anchoveta fishery – which is the largest single-species fishery in the world – helps to support the extraordinary marine variety and abundance found in Peru’s waters. However, catches of all the main commercial species have significantly declined in the last five years. In addition, Peru currently protects less than 0.5 percent of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), despite the government’s pledge to protect ten percent of its EEZ by 2020.
This project represents Year 2 of Ocean 5’s grant to support the government of Peru to reach its ten percent marine protection goal and to prioritize the creation of future protected areas based on a mix of scientific, economic and social criteria from a marine spatial planning process that we trained the government to conduct. The project will increase and strengthen Peru’s marine habitat protection in the following three areas:
• Nazca Ridge MPA Designation and Management: We expect that a 62,000 km2 Nazca Ridge Reserve will be designated by Peru’s President Vizcarra this summer. Once designated, Oceana will work with the Ministry of Environment and with the Protected Area Service (SERNANP) on post-designation communications. We will lead the process of the development of a strong management plan, including financing, to ensure effective, ongoing implementation.
• Protection for Peru’s Five-Mile Zone: The area from Peru’s shore to five miles out to sea is reserved for artisanal fishers and produces most of the fish that is consumed domestically. Our goal is to get the government to approve additional protection for the five-mile nearshore area that will ban purse seiners and trawls. This will more effectively protect species and habitats and help to preserve the important artisanal fisheries within this area and secure the foundation for the livelihoods of artisanal and small-scale fishers.
• Complete Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) for Peru. In Year 2, we will help the government complete marine spatial planning for Peru’s entire EEZ. We will lead a planning process with the government to prioritize marine areas for conservation based on MSP and gain a commitment to our recommended priorities for marine conservation in SERNANP’s ten-year Master Plan for protected areas. This will be the first time that marine areas are included in this plan. In addition, we will support the government in revising the Paracas National Reserve Management Plan to incorporate learnings from the MSP process there.