Hakai Magazine quotes Sandweiss in report on Peru anchovy fishery
University of Maine archaeologist Dan Sandweiss was quoted in the Hakai Magazine article, “The fish that smells like money: A tiny anchovy could be a silver bullet for malnutrition in Peru — if only we would let it.” The Peruvian anchoveta is one of the world’s most abundant fish, but only two percent of the catch is eaten by the locals — the vast majority is turned into fish meal or oil, and shipped to farmers and aquaculturists around the world to feed shrimp, cattle, and other livestock, according to the article. The anchoveta fed Peruvians for thousands of years, according to Sandweiss, a professor of anthropology and climate change. A shift in climate roughly 5,800 years ago brought cool upwelling water to the west coast of South America, and with it, the small schooling fish. Sardines and anchovies were the protein cornerstone of the diet of the late preceramic coastal societies, and facilitated rapid population growth and development throughout the region, the article states. “The fish were clearly an important part of the story,” Sandweiss said. When overfishing drove the sardine populations off California to collapse in the 1950s, the Peruvian anchoveta fishery industrialized rapidly, filling the gap in the market, the magazine reported.