El Niño was not quite the disaster for the Peruvian
Fishermen in the 1600's as it is these days on the Peruvian ecomony. Fishing
was a way of life, not a muti-fleet industry, and the fish were plentiful.
What El Niño did was
cause the fish to be confined to the cold eddies, so fishing
was easier. The phenomenon has been a gift to them, so they called the event
El Niño de Navidad, since the peak of it occurred around Christmas.
Today, with large fishing fleets that are capable of producing a large
catch no matter whether the fish are spread out or clustered, an El Niño
is of little benefit. The fish may cluster into cold eddies, but there are fewer
of them to be caught. Since the economy is dependent on the quota of fish
caught in a more typical year, the impact can be devastating.