Peru is the fifth most populous country of South America with a population of more than 31 million and has one of the best performing economies in South America, (World Bank, 2016). While the seafood sector only makes up for a small portion of the country’s GDP, it is a key component of the Peruvian economy as it is the highest source of foreign income after mining products. With its 3,080 km of coastline and 12,000 lakes and lagoons, Peru has perfect conditions for fishery and aquaculture activities. The nation’s marine fishery is well developed and operates in the Pacific Ocean, which borders Ecuador in the north and Chile in the south. The Peruvian anchovy marine fishery is the leading fishery in the world in terms of tonnes of landings and is used to uphold the country’s giant fish meal industry. The inland fisheries are less developed and are situated in rivers and lakes of the Amazon jungle. The aquaculture sector is small compared to the fish meal business and only contributes 2% to the countries total seafood sector. Aquaculture is practiced all over the country, with shrimp and scallop farming along the coast, trout farming in the highlands, and tilapia and Amazon fish farming in the lakes and rivers of the Amazon jungle. Compared to its neighboring counties, Peru’s aquaculture is still immature but the sector is growing rapidly. In March 2016 the Peruvian government published a regulation called the General Law on Aquaculture, which aims to stimulate, guide and regulate sustainable aquaculture in Peru.

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In Peru
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John van Herwijnen
John van Herwijnen
Country Expert: Peru

Peru's seafood sector

The Peruvian fishing, aquaculture and subsequent processing sector are an important source of foreign income and employment. Total fishery and aquaculture production reached 3.7 million metric tons in 2014. The Peruvian marine fishery is the most important sector, with production figures over 3.5 million MT in 2014, of which 65% was anchovy. The inland fishery contributed just 1% to the total wild capture production, producing 24,682 tonnes. Marine aquaculture is mainly composed of shrimp and scallop farming, and produced 76,588 MT. Total freshwater culture, of trout, tilapia and paiche accounted for 38,683 MT. Seafood production and processing contribute 1 - 1.5% to the country’s GDP. One third of this contribution comes from the fish meal and fish oil industry that is closely linked to the anchovy fishery, which is Peru’s main fish export commodity. Peru has approximately 18,211 vessels operating in the Pacific Ocean, of which 90% are artisanal. The Peruvian fishery sector employs around 211 thousand people, through direct and indirect jobs (SNP, 2013). Most employment is found in industrial fishing and processing. Aquaculture generated 102 thousand direct and indirect jobs in 2015 and an increase of 30% is expected by 2021 (ANDINA, 2016). Domestic consumption of seafood products is estimated to be respectively 16.2 kg/head/year, depending on the region (Ministerio de la Producción, 2016).

Fisheries and aquaculture production

Source: FAO (2016)

Marine fishery landings form the largest share of Peru's fisheries production. Anchovy are the dominant species caught, with catch volumes reaching 2.3 million tonnes in 2014. Most of the fluctuation in fishery production is a result of El Niño effects on the anchovy stock, which in combination with overfishing has led to decreased productivity and anchovy availability is currently reported to have reached

critical low levels (Undercurrent News, 2016). The inland fishery, situated in the Amazon jungle, shows a decreasing trend over the last five years and remain underdeveloped. The Peruvian aquaculture sector is relatively young and its share to the total country seafood production is low. Nevertheless, the government is putting emphasis on increasing sustainable aquaculture production and reducing the reliability on capture fisheries by adopting national programs and laws like the General Law on Aquaculture.

Production per species in 2014 (tonnes)

Source: FAO (2016)

Wild marine fish, predominantly anchovy, take up 65% of marine wild capture production. As anchovy is heavily influenced by El Niño effects, wild capture production figures tend to fluctuate a lot over the years. Besides anchovy, other important wild marine fish species are Chilean jack and Pacific chub mackerel and common dolphin fish. Giant jumbo

squid composes 88% of wild mollusks production. The most important cultured mollusks, diadromous fish and crustaceans are Peruvian calico scallop, rainbow trout and Litopenaeus vannamei shrimp although their share to Peru’s seafood production is currently only 3%. This share is expected to increase in the coming years.

Export markets

Source: Trade Map (2016), International Trade Centre,

The figure shown above represents the export value of seafood products including value-added, but does not include exports of fish meal or fish oil. To get an impression of this latter market, the value of fish meal exports reached

US$ 1.17 billion in 2015 and was primarily exported to China (74%).

Peru enjoys a FTA with both the European Union and the United States who, together with China, take account for 60% of Peru's seafood export value. The export markets of the European Union and United States are relatively stable, while China's market shows some fluctuation over the years. Spain, France and Italy are responsible for two thirds of EU imports, who mostly import squid, scallops and frozen shrimp. The United States predominantly import frozen shrimp and fish fillets, while China imports prepared and preserved squid. Other important export markets are Japan, Thailand and Canada.

Export products in 2015 (000 US$)

Source: Trade Map (2016), International Trade Centre,

Peruvian export products of seafood are diverse. Export values reached almost US$ 900 million in 2015. Squid, scallops and octopus (molluscs), prepared or preserved squid, frozen shrimp (crustaceans) and fish fillets take up the bulk of the exported products. As virtually all anchovy are used for fish meal and fish oil production and a small share is consumed domestically, anchovy can be hardly found back in seafood export products. Prepared and preserved anchovy contributes less than 0.005% to the total export value.


Last updated: 01/01/2017

  • Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)

    Species Number of Farms Total Volume (MT)
    Scallop 2 1,600
  • Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP)

    Species Number of Farms Total Volume (MT)
    Shrimp 1 4,000
    Trout 1 1,068
  • Naturland

    Species Number of Farms Total Volume (MT)
    Shrimp 1 150
Trade and Investment regulations

Peru ranks 50 out of 189 on the World Bank its Doing Business In Index. Since the liberal economic reforms in 1990, Peru has benefitted from foreign investments in mining and manufacturing which have boosted the nation’s economy. Its improvements in economic governance and political stability, together with economic modernization and natural resource abundance, are making Peru one of the most stable economies in Latin America (Focus Economics, 2016). Business confidence recently reached record heights, portraying the business sector positive attitude towards the appointment of Peru’s new President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and his reformed cabinet in 2016 (Focus Economics, 2016). This section will provide you with all up to date need to know information about trading and investing in seafood in Peru. The following topics are covered: click the links below to learn more!

  1. GSP facilities and Free Trade Agreements
  2. Setting up a representative or branch (service company) office
  3. FDI regulations and setting up a subsidiary company
  4. Taxes and duties
  5. Custom procedures
  6. Arbitration law
  7. Cultural do’s and don’ts

Do you want to expand or start business in Peru? Contact us!

Sector support programs

Programmes currently being implemented

  • Aquaculture Peru

    As a part of the CBI's integrated country program, Aquaculture Peru aims to help exporters of aquaculture products to find business opportunities in the European Union. The main focus is on the species shrimp, trout and paiche. The program offers coaching and training to individual companies to find good markets for their higher value products. In addition, they want to strengthen Peru's aquaculture sector as a whole.

    Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI)
  • National Program for Fishery and Aquaculture

    This program is aimed to strengthen Peru's capacity, innovating fisheries and aquaculture value chains. The project consists of four component: 1) promoting innovations in the sub-sector, 2) promoting innovation in the aquaculture sub-sector, 3) strengthening the Sistema Nacional de Innovación en Pesca y Acuicultura (SNIPA), institutions, and policies to improve governance of fisheries and aquaculture, 4) project management to strengthen the institutional and organizational capacity of the Vice Ministry of Fisheries.

    Peruvian government and World Bank