Pesca consciente, ceviche por siempre

Peruvian cuisine is synonymous with seafood. From ceviche to arroz con mariscos to grilled octopus, seafood is one area where local ingredients—and chefs—truly shine. What may come as a surprise is that despite the deep love of seafood, sustainable and traceable seafood movements are still very nascent in Peru.

The newness of the conversation means there are still a lot of things to work out. For instance, there is no common definition of “responsible sourcing” in Peru, and “sustainability” means different things to different people, which leads to confusion. Given the strong gastronomic movement and importance of seafood to the Peruvian diet, we see a big opportunity for bringing responsible sourcing into local markets in order to elevate the status and longevity of Peru’s marine resources.

Future of Fish has been talking with chefs, restaurant managers, government, and NGOs doing similar work to gauge their interest in a responsible sourcing program, and explore how we might collaborate to work together to preserve Peru’s marine resources into the future. There has been a lot of excitement, and most of the groups we spoke to saw the need for this kind of project. These conversations are supplemented by our research on other international projects dealing with similar issues. Out of these conversations and comparative research we developed a new initiative — “Pesca Consciente, Ceviche Por Siempre” — which aims to foster and develop responsible sourcing for seafood products in Peruvian markets.

Our next step will be to develop a responsible sourcing guide. We can’t do this alone, so we’ll be convening a series of multi-stakeholder working group meetings starting in February 2020. With the group, we will work to develop a common definition of “responsible sourcing,” as well as setting out steps that markets can take to source responsible seafood. Soon, we hope that everyone in Peru will be able to use common language to discuss responsibly sourced seafood, and promote responsible sourcing in Peru’s restaurants and beyond.

As we move towards developing a responsible sourcing guide, we first need to understand current market preferences and purchasing trends. To help with this, we launched a market survey at the beginning of December, and have received over 200 responses from consumers and restaurant managers so far. Preliminary findings include:

  • Most people consume seafood outside of their home 1-3 days/week, most commonly at cevicherias.
  • Most choose a seafood dish at a restaurant based on their personal preference.
  • Freshness is the most important product characteristic.
  • Most associate responsible fishing with respecting seasonal closures and minimum sizes.

Will you help us deepen our understanding? If you live in Lima or visit regularly, we hope you will take a moment to complete the survey.

To learn more about the project, please contact Gretchen at