The Beacon

Chile Cancels September Crustacean Trawl to Protect Common Hake

Hakes (Merluccius sp.)  in a crate. (Photo: Oceana / LX)

Chile has taken a major step to protect common hake, a species in decline from overfishing. Earlier this month, the Under-Secretariat of Fisheries and Aquaculture (SUBPESCA) decided to close the crustacean trawl fleet for the month of September around Valparaiso, Bernardo O'Higgins, and Maule, Chile. The move protects common hake, a fish commonly caught as bycatch in the crustacean fishery, which has declined by 70 percent from 2001 to 2013.

"This measure will benefit the recovery of common hake, which is a very important resource for artisanal fisheries. We hope it will soon be complemented with a comprehensive plan for the recovery of this species,” executive director of Oceana in Chile said in a press release.

SUBPESCA has synced the temporary ban with reproductive activity of common hake, which occurs during the month of September. About 90 percent of the fish caught in 2012 were juveniles, meaning they were not given a chance to reach reproductive maturity.

While Oceana welcomes the temporary ban, Oceana thinks a more comprehensive recovery plan should be put in place. Oceana would like the plan to include minimum catch sizes, total fishing quotas based on scientific research, and plans to combat illegal fishing.

Oceana in Chile works to create sustainable fisheries through a number of ways, like combating illegal, unreported, and irregular fishing, working to reduce bycatch, and establishing Marine Protected Areas. Click here to learn more.


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