Habitat and Ecology
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Widespread hypoxia and massive eruptions of noxious, radiatively active gases currently characterize the world's strongest eastern ocean upwelling zone. A theory supported by modelling results and observations, suggests that the world's coastal upwelling zones will undergo progressive intensification in response to greenhouse gas buildup. This presents the prospect of progressive development of similarly degraded marine ecosystems in additional regions, and the prospect of a contributing feedback loop involving associated additions to the global buildup rate of greenhouse gases. This would result in further increases in upwelling intensity and the creation of additional sources of greenhouse gas emissions. Abundant sardine stocks of this subspecies that are exposed to fishing pressure might be a mitigating factor opposing the process, but at the same time the populations are collapsing. (Bakun and Weeks 2004)
The fishing of this pelagic fish started in 1950, and reached a peak of captures of >12 million t. A combined effect of a strong ENSO in 1972/1973, overfishing and possibly other large-scale oceanographic changes in the Humbolt current region, led to a collapse of the population of this sardine that was one of the more dominant fish. During early 1980, pelagic harvests remained low, but following the 1984 ENSO event, harvests rose again. In 1994, harvests reached the level of year 1972. Until 1991, the harvests were around 3.0 million t, but the harvest of this sardine had already recently decreased in this region in 1999 to very low values of 300,000 t. It seems that ENSO may have positive and negative effects on the population. Changes in world atmospheric circulation patterns, possibly a consequence of global warming, have been proposed to have effects on its population as well (Wolff et al. 2003).
This subspecies is important for commercial fisheries. It is used for fishmeal and oil. The main area of harvesting is the northeastern Pacific in Mexico. The harvest was around 4,189,889 t in 1990 and seines were the primary catching method (Bianchi et al. 1993). It is marketed fresh, frozen or canned, and is typically utilized for fishmeal, but is also eaten fried and broiled (FAO 1992).
Peruvian Pacific sardine
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The Peruvian Pacific sardine (scientific name Sardinops sagax sagax) is a subspecies of the South American pilchard found in Peru. Related species of international importance include Sardinops caeruleus (USA), S. melanosticta (Japan), and Sardina pilchardus (Spain). Its geographical distribution extends from the Gulf of Guayaquil (Ecuador) up to Talcahuano (Chile). The most important location of the fish in Peru is Paita, Parachique, Santa Rosa, and Chimbote.
On November 2006, Peru obtained the right to use the term sardine, accompanied on the name of the fatherland and the scientific name, to commercialize this product and to assure its revenue to the markets of the world.
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