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Peru's potential as a seafood exporter

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Peru has perfect conditions for fishery and aquaculture activities, including 3,080 km of coastline, bordering Ecuador in the north and Chile in the south, and 12,000 lakes and lagoons. The Peruvian anchovy marine fishery is the leading fishery in the world in terms of tonnes of landings, which upholds the country’s giant fishmeal industry. Its inland fisheries, situated in rivers and lakes of the Amazon jungle, are less developed. Compared to the fishmeal business and the situation in neighbouring countries, Peru’s aquaculture sector is still in its infancy (Oxford Business Group, 2017). The aquaculture sector makes up only 2 percent of the country’s total seafood sector. Nevertheless, the environmental settings are favourable for aquaculture development and the sector is growing rapidly. Aquaculture is practiced all over the country, with shrimp and scallop farms along the coast, trout farms in the highlands, and tilapia and Amazon fish farms in the lakes and rivers of the Amazon jungle. 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.

While the seafood sector only makes up for a small portion of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), it is a key component of the Peruvian economy as it is the highest source of foreign income after mining products. This factsheet provides you with import information about doing business in Peru and gives you an overview of the Peruvian seafood sector. Next to that, it presents Peru's most interesting species for export: scallops, shrimps, trout and paiche. 

1 . Economics, politics and infrastructure

For more information about Peru’s general economic performance, economic prospects, trade and investments, politics and international relations and infrastructure, please refer to the Peru-page of the Seafood Trade Intelligence Portal (STIP) website.

2 . 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 (MT) in 2014. The Peruvian marine fishery is the most important sector, with production figures over 3.5 million MT in 2014, of which 65 percent consisted of anchovy. The inland fishery contributed just 1% to the total wild capture production, producing 24,682 tons. Marine aquaculture is mainly composed of shrimp and scallop farming, and produced 76,588 MT. The total freshwater culture of trout, tilapia and paiche (Amazon fish) accounted for 38,683 MT.

Seafood production and processing contribute 1 to 1.5% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). One third of this contribution comes from the fishmeal 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 percent are artisanal fishing vessels. The Peruvian fishery sector employs around 211,000 people, through direct and indirect jobs (ANDINA, 2014). Most employment is found in industrial fishing and processing. Aquaculture generated 102,000 direct and indirect jobs in 2015 and an increase of 30 percent is expected by 2021 (ANDINA, 2016). Domestic consumption of seafood products is estimated at 16.2 kg/head/year, depending on the region (El Commercio, 2016). In Latin America this is relatively high, but in comparison with Asia, for example, it is low. The main reason is that meat (especially beef) is relatively cheap and widely available in Latin America. FAO reports that, in general, seafood consumption in Latin America is increasing.

3 . Peru’s seafood sector in statistics


Marine fishery landings form the largest share of the Peruvian fishery production. Anchovy are the most caught species, 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. Anchovy availability had reached critically low levels in 2016 (Undercurrent News, 2016). To limit anchovy overfishing, the Peruvian government has implemented catch quotas. For example, the government set a quota in the central northern area at 2.8 million metric tons for the first anchovy fishing season of 2017 (Undercurrent News, 2017). Also, in other parts of the marine fisheries sector, the government is increasing efforts to make the industry more sustainable. In 2017, for example, the government announced a partnership with the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership and various industry players to move the squid sector towards MSC certification. With support of a 40 mln US dollar loan, starting in 2017, the government will support the industrial and artisanal fisheries sectors and divert pressure away from the anchovy fishery by focusing on the development of aquaculture and on other marine species which are less over-fished. The inland fishery, based in the Amazon jungle, has shown a decreasing trend over the last five years and remains underdeveloped.

The Peruvian aquaculture sector is relatively young and its contribution to the country’s total seafood production is small. Nevertheless, the government is putting emphasis on increasing sustainable aquaculture production and reducing the dependency on capture fisheries by adopting national programs and laws like the General Law on Aquaculture. As such, the Peruvian government is eager to attract foreign investors to help develop and innovate their aquaculture sector. Importers of sustainable aquaculture products should keep an eye on Peru as the production of species such as trout and Amazon fish is likely to increase in the coming years. Peru, therefore, is expected to become an increasingly competitive source for sustainable aquaculture products.

Wild marine fish, predominantly anchovy, comprise 65 percent of marine wild capture production. As anchovy is heavily influenced by the effects of El Niño, 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 dolphinfish. Giant Humboldt squid comprises 88 percent of wild mollusc production. The most important cultured molluscs is the Peruvian calico scallop, the most important diadromous fish is the rainbow trout and for crustaceans the Litopenaeus vannamei shrimp is most important. Their share of Peru’s seafood production is currently only 3%, but this is expected to increase in the coming years.


The figure above represents the export value of seafood products, including value-added products, but does not include exports of fishmeal or fish oil. To give an impression of the latter market, the value of fishmeal exports reached 1.01 billion US dollars in 2016, and it was primarily exported to China (70 percent). Peru enjoys a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with both the European Union (EU) and the United States (US), which, together with South Korea, took account for 68 percent of Peru's seafood export value in 2016. Until 2015, China was the third largest importer of Peruvian seafood, but it has since been replaced by South Korea. The export markets of the EU, US, China and South Korea have been fluctuating over the years, with differences ranging from 2 to 120 million US dollars. In 2015, exports to the former respective three countries decreased, and this trend carried through in 2016. Exports to South Korea increased with more than 15 million US dollars in 2016. With the FTA between Peru and the EU, it is becoming more and more interesting for European importers to invest in Peru as a source of sustainable aquaculture products such as shrimp, scallop, and trout, but also Amazon species like paiche and Pacu.

Spain, France and Italy are responsible for two thirds of EU imports, and they mostly import squid, scallops and frozen shrimp. The United States predominantly import frozen shrimp and fish fillets, while South Korea and China mainly import prepared and preserved squid. Other important export markets are Japan, Thailand and Canada.

Peru exports quite a diverse range of seafood products. Export values reached over 890 million US dollars in 2016, which is a decrease in export value of approximately 10 million US dollars. Squid, scallops and octopus (molluscs), prepared or preserved squid, frozen shrimp (crustaceans) and fish fillets comprise the bulk of the exported products. According to the EU list, there are 189 EU certified processing facilities, 93 of which process aquaculture products. However, according to local sector associations the number of active establishments is much lower. Also, the EU processing establishment does not include merchant exporters who have an export license and outsource the manufacturing their products instead of having their own processing facilities. Based on data received from Adex, it appears that 321 companies were engaged in exporting fishery and aquaculture products in 2016, and 50 of those companies accounted for 82% of the total export in terms of net weight. Although most aquaculture companies are owned locally, in fisheries, there is quite some foreign investment from China, Japan and other fishing nations with an interest in securing raw materials from Peru.

As virtually all anchovy are used for fishmeal and fish oil production and a small share is consumed domestically, anchovy can hardly be found in seafood export products. Prepared and preserved anchovy contributes less than 0.005 percent to the total export value.


Only a couple of aquaculture farms are certified in Peru. Certification data presented in the table below shows information from January 1st, 2017. In general, especially the companies that export to the EU and US are looking to certify their production facilities. It is likely that, in the future, more producers will get certified by ASC for the EU market and BAP for the US market. For the latest certification updates, please visit the sourcing intelligence on Peru of the Seafood Trade Intelligence Portal (STIP).









Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)




Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP)


Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP)


Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP)


Global Good Agricultural Practice








Number of farms







Certified total volume (MT):







4 . Trade and investment regulations

Peru ranks at number 54 out of 190 on the 2017 World Banks Doing Business 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 modernisation and the abundance of natural resources, are making Peru one of the most stable economies in Latin America (Focus Economics, 2017a).

Business confidence reached record heights in 2016, portraying the business sector’s positive attitude towards the appointment of the new Peruvian President, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, and his reformed cabinet. The devastating floods in February and March 2017 decreased this sentiment, but the business sector is recovering from these natural disasters (Focus Economics, 2017b).

GSP facilities and Free Trade Agreements

Peru is committed to free trade, and more than 80% of the country’s trade is covered by Free Trade Associations (FTA). Peru is involved in 19 FTAs, 3 of which are signed but not yet in force. Another 4 are being negotiated (January 2017). The country also benefits from a Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) status in many different countries. As a result, Peruvian seafood can be exported to all major markets, including the European Union, China and the United States, with little to no additional duty rates. Read more about Peru’s GSP status and free Trade Agreements on the Peru page of the Seafood Trade Intelligence Portal (STIP).

Setting up a representative or branch office

If you want to import seafood from Peru but do not want to set up a local business yourself, it is recommended to use a local agent. The local agent can deal with Peruvian bureaucracy and legal procedures concerning the import or export of seafood products, as well as quality control and container handling. However, should you want more control over activities happening in Peru, you might want to consider setting up a representative or branch office. Read more about the various options on the Peru page of Seafood Trade Intelligence Portal.

Foreign Direct Investment regulations and setting up a subsidiary company

The Peruvian government is eager to attract foreign investors. Foreign and national capital is treated equally, and it is legal to hold a majority interest in the capital of a local company. It is also possible to set up a subsidiary company. Read more about the Foreign Directive Investment (FDI) regulations and setting up a subsidiary company in Peru on the Seafood Trade Intelligence Portal Peru page.

Taxes and duties

The national tax office in Peru is known as the National Customs and Tax Administration Supervisory Authority (SUNAT). All residents are taxed on income that they earn worldwide, while non-residents are taxed only on income earned in Peru. For taxation purposes, to be considered a resident in Peru as a foreign national you have to spend more than 183 days a year in the country. In addition, foreign companies are taxed on gross income. Read more about taxes on income earned in Peru and taxes for foreign companies on the Seafood Trade Intelligence Portal’s Peru page.

Custom procedures

Peru has two export ports, the ports of Callao and Chimbote. Of these two, the port of Callao (Lima) is the largest. Peru has three international airports: Jorge Chavez International in Lima, Crnl., FAP Francisco Secada Vigneta International in Iquitos, and Cap. FAP Carlos Martinez de Pinillos International airport in Trujillo. The National Customs and Tax Administration Supervisory Authority (SUNAT) is the responsible authority for applying customs legislation and collects customs duties and taxes. Customs procedures are governed by the General Customs Law, and the regulations that implement the law.

In order to apply for the final export approval, the following documents are needed:

  • Copy of the transport document (bill of loading, air waybill or land transport bill, according to the means of transport used) or a printed representation in the case of the International Air Charter issued by electronic means – Carta de Porte Aéreo Internacional Electrónica (CPAIE);
  • SUNAT copy of the invoice, sales slip, operator’s document, participant’s document or other evidence that involves the transfer of goods to a client domiciled abroad, which is indicated in Regulation Of Proof of Payment; or a declaration of value and description of the merchandise when there is no sale. A printed copy of the invoice or electronic ballot is not required;
  • Document that shows the approval by the customs agent: a copy of the transport document accordingly endorsed or a photocopy authorized by the customs agent;
  • Health certificate;
  • Certificate of origin;
  • Other documents that are required based on the nature of exported goods.

Arbitration law

Peru is a safe place to do business, as long as you have counsel present and include mediation and arbitration clauses in all of your contracts (Peruvian law, 2014). In an unfortunate scenario where you and your Peruvian business partner have reached a dispute and negotiations fail to achieve a consensus, you can opt for litigation or arbitration. Read more about settling commercial disputes with your Peruvian partner on the Seafood Trade Intelligence Portal’s Peru page.

Cultural do’s and don’ts

When you conduct business in Peru, be aware that cultural differences may exist between you and your Peruvian partner with regards to what constitutes appropriate behaviour. For Peruvians, building a personal relationship with a business partner is considered crucial, and your Peruvian counterpart will likely want to get to know you first before making a deal. It is therefore wise to visit your Peruvian partner and to prepare yourself for lengthy negotiations. Since most Peruvians will speak just a little bit of English, it is best to bring along a Spanish interpreter to your business meetings and negotiations.

Peruvians can be quite informal when doing business, but be sure to use formal ways to address your Peruvian partner(s). Respect a person’s business title, but ‘Señor’ or ‘Señora’ are also acceptable to use. Don’t use first names only, unless you are invited by the person to do so. In terms of communication, Peruvians prefer an indirect style, so don’t be too direct. It is better to imply what you want to say and maintain your composure. Be sure to make eye contact when talking to your partner(s), as this creates an atmosphere of trust.

Other important things to keep in mind:

  • Peruvians are known to have a relaxed view on keeping time and it is not uncommon for them to be 30 minutes late. It is important that you don’t get angry or impatient for them being late. Schedule your appointments as loosely and flexibly as possible.
  • If you are invited to someone’s home, you should bring a gift. Suitable gifts are: flowers (no dark colors such as black and purple), good quality wine, liquor or chocolates. It is better not to give knives or odd numbered items as they are perceived as bad omens/luck. When you are invited to dinner or to have something to eat when you are their guest, it is impolite to refuse. Conversations topics that are appropriate to use, are: family, football, places to visit in Peru and local food. Topics that might be perceived as inappropriate are: politics, religion, terrorists and a person’s ancestry.
  • While most Peruvians will speak a little English, it would be wise to have a Spanish version of your business cards.
  • Dress conservatively and keep your gestures friendly and inviting.
  • Peruvians tend to stand closer to whom they wish to speak with than what some people are used to. This close proximity and kissing someone on the cheek is considered normal behavior.

5 . Overview of Sector Support Programmes / Development Projects in fisheries and aquaculture

Aquaculture Peru

The Aquaculture Peru programme is part of the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries’ (CBI) integrated country programme for Peru. This programme aims to help exporters of aquaculture products find business opportunities in the European Union. The main focus is on shrimp, trout and paiche (Amazon fish). 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. European importers interested in sourcing from Peru can contact CBI to find out more or to meet with potential suppliers who have been trained for export to Europe.

National Program for Fishery and Aquaculture

This programme by the Peruvian government and World Bank is aimed to strengthen Peru's capacity, innovating fisheries and aquaculture value chains. The project consists of four components: 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, and 4) project management to strengthen the institutional and organizational capacity of the Vice Ministry of Fisheries.

6 . Overview of relevant institutions and sector associations for fisheries, aquaculture and seafood processing

Ministry of Produce

Under the Ministry of Produce falls the Vice Ministry of Fisheries that is responsible for fishery and aquaculture activity in the country.

Asociacion de exportadores (ADEX)

ADEX is the export association of Peru, that that promotes exports, international trade and investments and contributes to business competitiveness as well as national development, the generation of well-being and employment. Its Fishery and Aquaculture Committee has information about some of the main exporting companies in the country.


ProInversión is a public entity that is part of the Ministry of Economy and Finances. It executes policies regarding national private investment promotion.

The National Customs and Tax Administration Supervisory Authority (SUNAT)

SUNAT is the authority responsible for custom administration and the main tax-collecting agency.


Sanipes is the Peruvian authority among others on investigating and regulating the safety and health of seafood products, by issuing official sanitary certifications.

Instituto del Mar del Peru (IMARPE)

The Institute of the Sea of Peru (IMARPE) is a specialized technical agency of the Ministry of Production that is oriented to scientific research and the study and knowledge of the Peruvian sea and its resources. It advises the state in decision making processes regarding marine conservation and resource management.

Sociedad Nacional de Pesquería (SNP)

SNP is a non-profit private trade association that brings together the main companies active in the fishery and aquaculture production and supply chain or in related fields.

Organizacion en Pro del Desarrollo Sostenible de la Acuicultura en el Peru - Pro Acuicultura

Pro Acuicultura is an association that aims to contribute to the sustainable development of aquaculture of all modalities and geographical areas where it is practiced, in particular the aquaculture of limited resources and of minor scale.

Seafood trade Intelligence Portal (STIP)

STIP is an online platform that brings in depth information on prominent exotic seafood sectors and companies in leading seafood sourcing countries, including Peru. STIP is an initiative of SOLIDARIDAD, an NGO working towards the sustainable production of thirteen different commodities, including aquaculture products. In cooperation by CBI, STIP has included Peru in its sourcing intelligence ( and is inviting Peruvian companies to join its supplier database.

Read more about scallops, shrimps, trout and Amazon fish (paiche) in the study 'Seafood from Peru: main aquaculture species'

7 . Bibliography

First part (Country page)

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