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The Fortnight

EL NINO WATCH

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Jun 30, 1998 | From the print edition

The global fish meal and fish oil industries during 1997-98 season will go down due to El Nio weather phenomenon. The world's biggest fish meal producer, Peru has recorded a 91 per cent decline in fish catch in April 1998 as against the production during same time last year.

Stuart Barlow, director general of the International Fishmeal and Oil Manufacturers Association, says the industries has posted major losses and redundancies during this period. The fish catch has suffered as a result of the unusually high temperature of the upper levels of the eastern Pacific ocean. Burlow says that several varieties of fish have gone much deeper than normal, seeking cooler waters. This region is far below the reach of fishing nets that has led to decline in fish catch. Barlow denies that spawning has been interrupted due to El Nio.

The fish meal production around the world in 1998 may not exceed 4.5 tonnes as against 6.5 million tonnes in 1996. Fish oil, another by-product of the US $3.7 billion global fish meal industry, may also be hit. The fish meal production may be not more than 55 per cent of 1.3 tonnes produced in 1997.

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