Economy Minister, Pablo Longueira, stressed the level of consensus the institutional reform achieved. (Photo: economia.gob.cl)
Government and deputies achieve progress in Fisheries Act procedure
Friday, July 13, 2012, 01:00 (GMT + 9)
After nearly 16 hours of debate, representatives of the National Executive and members of the Fisheries Committee of the House of Representatives reached an agreement on the directions amending the future Fisheries General Act.
During the discussion joined by the Economy Minister, Pablo Longueira; the Undersecretary of Fisheries Pablo Galilea; the technical team who worked on the development of the proposal; and the 13 legislators of the Fisheries Committee, the high degree of consensus achieved by the institutional reform, which offers a prominent role to the technical and scientific aspects in the definition of fishing quotas, was highlighted.
In addition, the new legislation eliminates the resolutive power of the National Fisheries Council (CNP) and the creation of technical-scientific committees.
The discussion unanimously ratified the agreement on the fisheries board as to the division, which consists of a transfer of quota from the industrial to the artisanal sectors in the 12 major fisheries from Chile.
This agreement will mean an income of more than USD 34 million a year for this sector, reported the Undersecretariat of Fisheries.
In addition, the parties agreed to protect the first mile, as a reserve for boats under 12 metres in length engaged in artisanal fishing.
They also supported the elimination of permit fees of the 761 Benthic Resource Management and Exploitation Areas (AMERB), which currently exist in the country.
With regard to the payment of license fees and to the use of satellite positioning systems, they were approved to be paid in a differentiated way according to the size of the ship -- dividing it between 12 to 15 metres ships and those that are 15 to 18 metres. Furthermore, the gradual payment of 'Class A' tradable fishing licences was agreed to take place as the fisheries that are currently overexploited are being recovered.
In relation to the satellite positioning device, artisanal fishermen may deduct 100 per cent of the cost of this license payment equipment.
"We have taken an important step in processing a project that will radically change the way it has historically managed a resource that belongs to all Chileans and on which more than 80,000 families across the country depend," held minister Longueira.
"The set of indications we have presented to this committee includes the main concerns we have discussed with over 150 organizations from the artisanal and industrial world," he added.
Meanwhile, Galilea pointed out: "Over 90 per cent of artisanal fishermen will have the protection of the first mile, thanks to an indication presented by this Government, which was welcomed by parliamentarians."
"[...] There has been progress in reaching agreements on sensitive issues. We hope that these results offer peace to the artisanal fisheries sector, which has been holding protests in some regions of the country."
On the other hand, Nelson Estrada, president of the National Fishing Heritage Defense, said "the agreement of the fisheries board has been helpful to legitimize the flagship project presented by minister Longueira," reported Ecoceanos.
"It will benefit seven families of industrialists, to the detriment of 80,000 artisanal fishermen and their families, who will lose their financial support and will become cheap labour for the fishing industry," Estrada complained.
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