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Artisanal fishing vessels. (Photo: K.Falch)

Industrial fishermen demand control of entire artisanal fleet

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017, 02:20 (GMT + 9)

The industrial fishing sector is concerned about the strong increase in the percentage of accompanying species recently declared by the artisanal fleet that catches sardine and anchovy, and, therefore, it requests the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (SERNAPESCA) to extend controls to all vessels of that fleet.

The Association of Industrial Fisheries (ASIPES) stresses that 80 per cent of the 234,000 tonnes of sardine and anchovy that are authorized today in the southern central zone is captured by the artisanal fleet based in the ports of Biobío. These resources fully supply the fishing processing plants of Talcahuano, Coronel and Lota, and demonstrate the productive link between the two players.

The artisanal sardine and anchovy quota is captured mainly by two groups of boats: those less than 12 metres in length that are "not technified", and the largest one to that extent and which has hydraulic or electric equipment for its performance.

"The problem is twofold: one has to do with the lack of control of these smaller ships, which add up to 200 boats, and the other one, due to an 'over-declaration' of bycatch that is not discounted from the artisanal sardine and anchoveta allocation, which makes it possible to 'stretch' the quota affecting the sustainability of this resource,” explains Macarena Cepeda Godoy, ASIPES president.

These statements were part of the meeting held Friday between executives of the fishing industry and SERNAPESCA director (s), Rodrigo Valencia, to discuss the explosive increase of the "bycatch" declaration by the artisanal sector.

ASIPES president said that they expressed the Authority the concern of the industry due to the high percentages of bycatch declared by the artisanal sector in the last days, which reaches 70 per cent, whereas in the industry this is only 2 per cent.

According to Cepeda, they also expressed SERNAPESCA about the willingness of ASIPES companies to collaborate so that this inspector can fulfill its work on 100 per cent of the ships that supply raw material to the industrial sector. This is intended to "ensure that what the artisanal sector declares is actually what is received at the plants, and so ensure the conservation of resources and strictly comply with the quotas set by the Technical Scientific Committee."

For his part, Andres Daroch Coello, manager of FoodCorp Chile, explained that the problem is due to a gap in the Fisheries Law that establishes the certification of catches only to vessels greater than 12 metres, while there is a significant number of smaller-scale vessels that operate on those resources that today must not comply with this obligation and whose catch level is not negligible.

For this reason, ASIPES president asked SERNAPESCA director to inspect the total artisanal fishing fleet, during the 24 hours of the day. In addition, he called for an open door policy of landing and plants to ensure that control.

"Transparency and traceability of resources must be met by all fishermen. That is why it is even more important to pass the bill that modernizes and strengthens SERNAPESCA’s monitoring role," concluded the executive.

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