Saturday, October 27, 2007

Chile fishermen protest fishery depletion - government crticized for extending “mining industry mentality” to the fishing industry.

Chilean coastal fishermen protest depletion of hake

Chilean fishermen used public debates in the coastal town of Valparaiso Wednesday as a forum to criticize Chile’s fishing policies. The debates, titled “Who sells you fish,” focused on the current depletion of the hake population along Chile’s coasts.

The local fishermen criticized the government for implementing policies that fail to maintain economic stability in the industry and directly contribute to the decimation of fish populations.

The debates were attended by industry leaders, as well as local fishermen working to re-establish fish catch limits.

Local fishermen criticized the government for extending “mining industry mentality” to the fishing industry. This “mining mentality,” as described by president of the National Confederation of Artesian Fishermen (Conapach), Cosme Caracciolo, is stripping Chile’s seas of extremely valuable fish populations.

According to statistics from the Institute for Fishing Promotion (IFOP), in 2002 the estimated hake biomass around Chile’s coasts was 1.5 million tons. Today the figure is just 272,000 tons.

“Our fish haul has dropped by almost 15% over the last few years. The problem lies with the large-scale fishing industry that takes out huge amounts of fish, thereby affecting the biomass,” said Caracciolo.

Senator Nelson Ávila, who voted against fishing limitations, acknowledged at the debates that a modification of the current fishing system is not likely to occur.

“There is a lack of political will to resolve the problems of the fishing industry because the state is trapped in a tangle of interests,” he said. “Conservation today is not oriented to the fish, but instead to the industrial fishing companies.”

Here is the full article.