Earlier this month, Oceana hosted an unprecedented international seminar in Chile to address problems with Chile’s fisheries and to suggest methods for recovery.
“Chile faces one of the most severe fishing crises in its history. If we are to have a chance to revert it, we need the will and engagement of every stakeholder to advance effective measures and recover our resources,” said Oceana in Chile executive director Alex Muñoz in a press release. “If we miss this window of opportunity, we can say goodbye to fishing activities forever.”
The seminar, Fisheries Crisis: The Challenge of Turning the Tide, brought together fisheries experts from around the globe, along with government officials, Navy officers, scientists, academics, and fishermen in an effort to urge all industries to jointly address the recovery of Chile's fisheries. More than 300 people attended the event and 400 watched it online.
Experts addressed the decline of jack mackerel and common hake, and suggested methods for recovery. They also discussed the social and economic impacts of fishery recovery efforts, and shared new technologies and surveillance systems to fight illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Finally, they examined the environmental and economic impacts of using fish as food for humans, rather than as fishmeal.
A study published earlier this year by Chile’s Undersecretary of Fisheries (SUBPESCA) found that 48 percent of Chile’s fisheries are overexploited or collapsed. Of the 33 main fisheries, 12 are currently being exploited, eight are considered overfished, and the remaining eight are already depleted.
Oceana believes the government needs to implement recovery plans for threatened fisheries, including establishing science-based global quotas, banning bottom trawling in critical areas, setting minimum catch sizes, and increasing monitoring of illegal fishing.
“Thousands of households depend on artisanal fishing of species like the common hake and other overfished species,” Muñoz said. “Difficult years lie ahead and the support of the Government is required to help fishermen; in the long term, however, these measures will pay off and we will have sustainable fishing activities.”
Oceana in Chile works on a number of campaigns, like reducing bycatch, establishing Marine Protected Areas, and protecting critical habitat like the Juan Fernández Islands. Click here to learn more.