The Peruvian hake industry got a boost this week when Peru’s ministry of production increased the total allowable catch (TAC) for the first hake season of the year by 30% from the 13,740 metric tons allocated in December to a total of 17,880t.
The change comes from the latest recommendations of the Instituto del Mar del Peru (Imarpe), which found that the abundance of the hake resource in the first quarter of this year was up 60% compared to 2012.
The TAC is set in December each year for the A season, which runs from January through June 30 this year, but the ministry has revised the quota upwards during the season for the past two years due to higher-than-predicted biomass reassessments during the season, hake seller and I.P. Santa Monica CEO Stephan Palinginis told Undercurrent News.
Imarpe, Peru’s marine research agency responsible for setting the quota, has observers on board the commercial fishing boats to collect data on the biomass during the season, and the results from January to May of this year “were exceptional,” Palinginis said.
Biomass estimates are up 60% over last year, drawing speculation that the lower availability of squid this year may be allowing hake to flourish more.
“This is very good data for the biomass,” Palinginis said. “We haven’t seen that in the last 20 years.”
The quota for B season, which will be announced after the research finishes June 15, is likely to increase over A season, he said.