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Francois Gerlotto is a member of the Scientific Committee of the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation.

'Last century’s anchovy abundance proves the highest in 25,000 years'

  (PERU, 9/19/2018)

In the last century, the most important fishery in Peru and in the world, the anchovy one, proved the highest in abundance in 25,000 years, said Francois Gerlotto, a researcher at the French Research Institute for Development (IRD).

During his presentation entitled "Impact on fisheries management of climate change and demography", within the framework of the Marine Sustainability Conferences - SNP, the scientist explained that the message is that we are in a period of high productivity and that variability is a situation that has been happening for thousands of years.

"While it is true that we must reduce fishing pressure when biomass is at low levels, we must not believe that this will solve everything, because there are other variables that must be taken into account to ensure the sustainability of the sea," he said.

In that sense, he pointed out that the solution to protect the ecosystem in the face of climate change is not to stop fishing, as the environmentalist Paul Watson proposes, but to produce food more efficiently.

If fishing in the sea is prohibited, it will mean moving the problem to another side, the damage will be greater because we will be doing more harm in the continents," he said.

Gerlotto said that if the decision is taken to stop fishing the annual 80 million metric tons produced at sea, the only way out will be to produce that animal protein on land. "There will be greater need for crop fields, space for livestock, degradation of territories. These are problems that, currently, fishing does not have," he said.

The French scientist, who is also a member of the Scientific Committee of the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation (SPRFMO), reported that within this institution the creation of a working group has been proposed to monitor the habitat of fishing resources.

In that sense, he considered that the possibility of returning some species that are not present in the Peruvian sea today, such as jack mackerel or sardine, will depend on the conditions of their habitat.

"It is possible that they return, but that is not in our hands, but in the environmental variability. The sardine left the Peruvian sea, did not disappear, but was located in another area. We can not do anything about that," he said.

The conference organized by the SNP was developed within the framework of the forum for scientific and technical release in the context of the seas, oceans and fisheries, called "Marine Sustainability Conference - SNP", which seeks to contribute to strengthening scientific knowledge and for the sustainability of resources, care of the ecosystem and the development of fishing and aquaculture activities.

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