The Peruvian Scallop fishery began in the 1950s, but high interest in the scallop did not occur until the 1980s when international demand increased and a strong El Nino event resulted in a large increase of the scallop population. Peruvian scallops, (Argopecten purpuratus) are found in shallow waters of 16 -114 feet, in semi-protected bays. In certain areas the Peruvian scallop is affected by the warm El Nino waters. During and following the years of an El Nino event the population tends to increases due to decreased predators (the majority of the scallops predators seem to do better in cooler years) and an increase in reproduction and larva survival. In other areas (northern Peru) abundance tends to be higher during normal (cooler water) years and lower following an El Nino event. Either way the upswells in the Peruvian Sea from the cold Humboldt Current combining with the warm water, create the ideal environment for the scallops by driving up rich nutrients. Scallops are harvested at 2.5” (65mm). Sizes range from 20/30, 30/40, 40/60 and 60/80 per pound.
Fisheries in Peru are regulated under the Ministry of Production by the Vice Ministry of Fisheries subunit. To help inform managers, fisheries research is carried out by the Marine Institute of Peru.