The El Niño phenomenon leads to anchovy shortages
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The El Niño weather pattern is known for its effects on winter temperatures and precipitation.
But it can also wreak havoc on a very specific link in the food supply chain: Peruvian anchovies.
this is the reason.
El Niño was born in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Peru. For hundreds of years, fishermen in the area have noticed the water temperature rising every few years in the winter, causing their catches to decline. They called him “El Niño de Navidad” or “The Christmas Child.”
Peru has the largest anchovy fishery in the world. “Most of the world’s anchovies by tonnage come from Peru,” John Phillips, purchasing director at Roland Foods, told us. The country produced about 4.6 million tons of the small tasty fish in 2022, according to industry reports.
Anchovies feed on plankton that float on the surface fluctuationWhich occurs when winds push water across the ocean’s surface and cold water rises from below. The El Niño phenomenon disrupts this process.
The absence of fluctuations means less food for the anchovies. It makes it difficult for them to survive. “It brings the fish closer to shore and makes them swim deeper to try to find the same nutrients,” Phillips said.
Peru has already canceled part of its anchovy fishing season In order to help counter the potential effects of the El Niño phenomenon. This is leading to a global shortage of fishmeal, which is widely used in animal feed, as well as in some fish oil supplements. Both products are made from anchovies.
Anchovies add umami appeal To a wide range of foods people eat, including Caesar salads and pizza. “Anchovies are an excellent way to add spice and depth of flavor to sauces and different things,” Phillips said. “It’s really a wide range of uses if you want something very salty and flavorful.”
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