Small sized but powerful in taste

Facts & figures

Anchovies
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2014
Mar del Plata, Argentina
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Mar del Plata

For those who walk beyond the colourful parasols on the beaches and the touristy boulevard in the Argentinean beach village of Mar del Plata, you can find a row of docking stations with bright orange fishing boats: the home port to the first MSC-certified anchovy-fishery in the world.

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There was a time when anchovies around Mar del Plata were overfished, almost leading to the disappearance of the species from the area and making fishermen unemployed. Luckily, the local community was just in time to make a change: they created rules and implemented some smart innovations. Because all the fishermen caught up with the new methods and because anchovies procreate quickly, the fishing data has completely recovered. Making it possible for everyone to enjoy Argentinean anchovies for a long time.

Fishing method

Anchovy-fishermen work with cone-shaped nets which they tie to the back of their boats and pull through the water. Because anchovies swim in compact schools, this method is very selective.

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The fishermen don’t work all year through; in mating season they leave the fish data alone. Not only that, the nets have been designed in such a way that the small, young anchovies can swim right through. Keeping the fish population stable all year long.

Atlantic pearl

Mar del Plata is a popular beach resort by the Atlantic Ocean, about 249 miles below Buenos Aires. With a population of over 1 million people and an area of about 861 sq ft , it’s the seventh city of Argentina. Mar del Plata is also known as the pearl of the Atlantic Ocean.

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Anchovies

What it’s lacking in size, it makes up in taste - that’s the anchovy. This little animal looks a bit like a herring and comes from a big family of over 140 sub-species which can be found all over the world. It eats plankton and young fish and is, like the sardine, a fatty fish. Perfect to use to add flavour to sauces and salads.

‘If our families are happy, we are happy.’

Mariano is one of the anchovy-fishermen in Mar del Plata. A good catch is of vital importance for him and his men. That it takes them away from their families is the flip side. ‘In the end we do it all for them. If they’re happy and healthy, so are we.’

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