Peruvian Scientist Patricia Majluf Awarded 2012 Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation

Peruvian Scientist Patricia Majluf Awarded 2012 Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation
2012 Pew Marine Fellow Patricia Majluf

Project Aims to Shift the Peruvian Anchoveta Fishery Through Market Forces

Patricia Majluf, Ph.D., has been awarded a 2012 Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation. At the time of her selection, Dr. Majluf served as the director of the Center for Environmental Sustainability at the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Peru. On Feb. 25, she was appointed Peru's vice minister of Fisheries. As a result, the start of her fellowship will be deferred.

Dr. Majluf's project aims to reduce the negative impacts of the anchoveta reduction fisheries of Peru by creating new markets for the industry to supply fish for direct human consumption. She is the first Peruvian to receive this fellowship.

Each year, 6 million to 10 million metric tons of anchoveta, a fish in the anchovy family, are extracted from a narrow strip of ocean off the coast of Peru, known as the Humboldt upwelling ecosystem. Most of the anchoveta are converted to fish oil and fishmeal, used as animal feed for chickens, pigs, and salmon, among others. Dr. Majluf's project aims to maintain the Humboldt upwelling ecosystem by enabling a reduction of the anchoveta catches for the fishmeal and fish oil industries, without income loss. Fishermen and processors can sell anchoveta products for human consumption with higher added value per metric ton of anchoveta. This approach would allow for a reduction in the total allowable catch of anchoveta while preventing a decline in financial benefits.

“The highly productive marine ecosystem along the Peruvian coast relies on the anchoveta to feed huge populations of fish, birds, and mammals,” said Dr. Majluf. “The Pew Marine Fellowship offers an opportunity to maintain anchoveta populations, which play a critical role in the Humboldt ecosystem, while providing the world millions of tons of additional nutritious and tasty food.”

The Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation is a prestigious program that gives recipients US$150,000 for a three-year scientific research or conservation project designed to address critical challenges facing our oceans. Dr. Majluf's project will develop a market for anchovetas in North America to increase the international demand for anchoveta as food.  Consuming these fish directly is a more efficient use of these protein- and energy-rich fish than feeding them to livestock and farmed fish, which are in turn fed to people.  The project builds upon Dr. Majluf's success in engaging with the Peruvian fishing and processing industry, activist chefs, and the international sustainable seafood movement to generate new markets in Peru for this biologically important fish. This effort led to a fivefold increase in catches for human consumption over six years.

“Dr. Majluf's project resourcefully engages industry and the progressive seafood movement to maintain the anchoveta fishery and protect the marine ecosystem,” said Joshua S. Reichert, managing director of the Pew Environment Group. “This project can help to change the future of this fishery by creating incentives for stakeholders to make it more sustainable.”

Dr. Majluf earned her doctorate in zoology from the University of Cambridge, where her work focused on Peruvian fur seal behavior at Punta San Juan, in southern Peru. She founded the Center for Environmental Sustainability at Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, which builds knowledge and local capacities to enable improved management and restoration of the Peruvian marine system. Dr. Majluf previously was vice president of the board of the Peruvian Marine Research Institute.

The Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation has awarded 125 fellowships to recipients from 32 countries. The Pew Marine Fellowships fund science and other projects that address critical challenges in the conservation of the oceans. Through a rigorous nomination and review process, a committee of marine specialists from around the world selects Pew Marine Fellows based on the strengths of their proposed projects, including their potential to protect ocean environments. Unique and timely projects led by outstanding professionals in their fields are chosen annually, targeting individuals who are mid-career. The program is managed by the Pew Environment Group, based in Washington, D.C.

More information about each of the 2012 Pew Marine Fellows, including photographs and a video about the recipients, is available at