Preserving the most productive ocean in the world

Posted on 14 November 2013
© WWF Peru
The Peruvian ocean combines the best of two natural worlds: the biodiversity of the northern tropical ocean and the unusual productivity of the central and southern cold ocean. Despite its tropical latitude, the Peruvian marine current is made up of cold waters (13 °C – 17 °C) full of plankton produced by coastal upwelling (i.e. when cold waters and nutrients rise to the surface from the seabed), that sustain the largest fishing productivity worldwide. This is reflected through the presence of the largest seabird colonies in the world – with historic populations that reach nearly 20 million –, as well as in the exports of over US$
1500 million per year in fishmeal and fish oil. The northern coast is quite different. The tropical current has temperatures that surpass the 20 degrees required for the existence of completely different species and ecosystems, such as mangroves, whose southern distribution limit in the Eastern Pacific is here.

Whether working directly with fishermen, authorities or companies, WWF Peru fosters marine biodiversity conservation initiatives, such as efficient management of marine protected areas,
as well as best spatial planning practices for infrastructure activities within the coast. Moreover, the WWF marine program promotes the sustainability and transparency of industrial fishing, including that of anchoveta (Engraulis ringens), mahi-mahi (Coryphaena hippurus), and
other key fisheries through a market transformation approach that prompts responsibility in extractive and productive activities.