Magazine article Americas (English Edition)

Bait for Bucks

Magazine article Americas (English Edition)

Bait for Bucks

Article excerpt

With a few notable exceptions, Latin American nations should take a holiday and "go fishing." It might be the most rewarding holiday of their history.

The region is finally beginning to look seaward toward its maritime resources. But to date few countries have truly availed themselves of the marine bounty waiting off their beaches.

The exceptions to this situation provide brilliant examples of what could be. Chile, the world's fifth largest exporter of seafood with a fleet of 16,000 fishing boats, caught a total 129,000 tons of sardines, anchovies, conger eel, crab and swordfish in 1989.

Peru has the world's sixth largest fishing industry. Per capita consumption of shellfish in that Andean republic is approximately 35 pounds a year. Much of the Chilean and Peruvian production of anchovies is processed into fish flour. Not to be outdone, Mexico in 1989 exported 185,000 tons of maritime products valued at U.S.$521 million. According to Clara Judisman, Mexico's undersecretary of fishing, Mexico has an annual export potential of up to U.S.$1.5 billion.

Ironically, 24 of the 26 South and Central American republics have access to the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans and/or the Caribbean Sea, the exceptions being Bolivia and Paraguay. …

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