Over $240 million dollars a year in illegal fishing of southern hake, small pelagic fish and South Pacific hake is the figure that José Miguel Burgos, Director of the Chilean National Fisheries Service (Sernapesca) presented at the seminar “Protocols for Traceability and their Role in the Fight against Illegal Fishing”. The event, which was organized in a joint effort with marine conservation organization Oceana, featured a number of national and international experts who endorsed the importance of implementing measures such as traceability.
“This tool provides control over the information on fishery products from the time they are caught up until they are placed on a plate, which ensures the legal origin of what is being consumed”, explained Liesbeth van der Meer, Executive Director of Oceana Chile. “In addition, traceability helps sustainability; it is fundamentally important to ensure food safety”, she said.
At the seminar, Hernán Rojas, Director of CERES BCA, presented the successful example implemented in Chile in 2000 for the traceability of bovine meat, which currently allows consumers to know the entire chain of the product that is about to be consumed.
In addition, Katheryn Patterson and Glynnis Roberts of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States presented the policies they have driven to modernize the control points and surveillance programs to monitor illegal fishing in this country. Beth Lowell, from Oceana USA, presented the successful results of the Seafood Fraud campaign, which aims to bring transparency to the origin of fish and shellfish by using labels that provide information on the entire production chain.
Sernapesca is working on the gradual implementation of an electronic traceability platform, which will provide on-line monitoring of products being extracted from the country’s coastline, reduce illegal capture of resources, control compliance with quotas and ensure the food safety of fish and shellfish. This bill, which aims to strengthen the Service by improving its faculties and providing it with a suitable workforce, is in its second reading at the Senate.
Oceana Chile’s Executive Director stated that the technology to implement traceability exists today, because it has been implemented in the production chains of a number of food products, and seafood products need to be added.