Amidst seemingly daily doses of environmental warnings and bad news, what makes the collapse of the Peruvian anchovy fisheries relevant to us here in New Zealand?
I’ve never been to Peru, and I don’t remember ever eating an anchovy. But in actual fact there is a direct link from Peruvian waters to cheap animal production in New Zealand and consumers’ dining room tables.
There is an insatiable worldwide demand for fishmeal and oil, products that are derived from small ‘forage fish’ such as anchovies. This demand is driven by factory farming practices around the world, where huge amounts of the wild fish stocks caught are used as protein sources to feed intensive animal agriculture and aquaculture operations.
The wild fish fed to New Zealand farmed salmon (and livestock) comes from the Peruvian fisheries. ‘Well managed’ and ‘sustainable’? Apparently not! When the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation describes anchovy as “the most heavily exploited fish in world history” you know something’s wrong.
And wild fish is not all they feed farmed salmon – did you know that the waste from intensive chicken farms are fed to farmed fish in the (once) pristine waters of the Marlborough Sounds?
Fish farming is factory farming. So much so they can be called the sow crates or feedlots of the sea.
Eliot Pryor, Campaign Director