Economic Consequences of El Niño
and the influence on prices worldwide
The coast of Peru is one of five major fishing grounds in the world
(along with the coastal waters of California, Namibia, Mauritania, and Somalia).
The abundance of fish is supported by the
of nutrient rich waters from deeper levels (below the
During non-El Niño years, the southeast
drag surface water westward away from shore.
As surface water moves away,
upwelling brings up
colder waters from depths of 40-80 meters or more.
This deep sea water is rich in nutrients which can
sustain large fish populations.
During an El Niño event, the southeast
trade winds weaken
and so does the amount upwelling in the eastern
The deeper thermocline
means that any upwelling that does occur
is unable to tap into the rich nutrients found in deeper waters.
Consequently, warm nutrient-poor water predominates the region and
a decrease in the fish population is observed.
A reduction of the fish population reduces the amount of fishmeal produced
and exported (by local industry) to other countries for feeding poultry and
livestock. If the world's fishmeal supply decreases, more expensive
alternative feed sources must be used, resulting in an increase in poultry
impacts on weather