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Anchovies swimming in a school. Anchovies are just one of the species of fish that are important to the economies of Chile and Peru.
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Courtesy Wikipedia Commons

Fisheries in the Southeast Pacific Region

Do you like anchovies on your pizza? Many anchovies come from the Southeast Pacific Ocean near Chile and Peru. In fact, there are lots of different types of fish in this part of the world.

Why are there so many fish in the Southeast Pacific Ocean? It is because of the strong winds and ocean currents. The currents bring very cold water from deep in the ocean up to the surface. The waters in the deep ocean have a lot of nutrients. When these nutrients come up to the ocean surface they are used by tiny phytoplankton. Lots of nutrients mean lots of phytoplankton. And lots of phytoplankton means there will be plenty of food for fish to eat.

In Chile and Peru, the most important species of fish are anchovies, sardines, mackerel, and salmon. Ocean temperatures are important to all types of fish. Anchovies do best when the water is cooler. Sardines like it better when the water is warmer. If the temperature of the ocean goes up because of climate change, there will probably be more sardines and less anchovies. One part of the VOCALS science will be to learn how changing climates might change the kinds of fish in the Southeast Pacific Ocean.

Last modified September 19, 2008 by Sandra Henderson.

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