Santiago — The marine conservation organization, Oceana, questioned the decision made by the Fisheries Undersecretary (Subpesca) of increasing common hake’s annual catch quota to 25,000 tons and changing its status from collapsed to overexploited.
“According to a scientific report, there is about 40% likelihood that common hake has not recovered. Increasing the annual catch quota is an irresponsible measure, inconsistent with the precautionary approach under the law," said Oceana Vice President for Chile Liesbeth van der Meer.She added that “the Scientific Committee itself concluded that this fishery is very close to collapse and in need for measures to move it away from such condition.”
The Scientific Committee for common hake — Subpesca’s advisory and consultation body — recommended the adoption of a minimum 20,000 ton annual quota. Additionally, it suggested this quota for at least three years, to only then declare this fishery away from the collapse threat. The Government, however, decided against this recommendation and increased the catch quota by 8.7%.
“That common hake is no longer in a collapse status is only a technical matter and it doesn’t mean that it has recovered. Subpesca should have followed the Committee’s recommendations, keeping the catch quota or even reducing it,” said van der Meer.
In addition to keeping the quota at the lowest levels as suggested by the Scientific Committee, Oceana considers that there is a need to keep on fighting illegal fishing and implement the management plans that have been established for common hake.