Oceana acknowledges Subpesca’s decision to slightly increase the sardine quota in Chile
Press Release Date: May 5, 2017
Location: Santiago, Chile
Santiago, Chile — Marine conservation organization Oceana, acknowledges the decision to slightly increase the sardine fishing quota from 273,000 to 310,000 annual tons, despite the insistence of a few fishermen associations of the Biobío Region that pushed for 400,000 tons.
“We believe that the government acted in compliance with the precautionary principle established by law and the suggestions of the Scientific Committee,” said Liesbeth van der Meer, Executive Director of Oceana in Chile. “The fishermen’s request is based on a mistaken concept, confusing the availability of this resource with its total abundance, which are two very different things,” she added.
Sardine fishery is currently under full exploitation, yet highly risking overexploitation, according to the last technical report of the Scientific Committee of Small Pelagics, a consultant to Subpesca. Total biomass and spawning show a decreasing trend since 2013, which is why maintaining precautionary management criteria is essential today more than ever, so that this fishery does not fall below its sustainable levels, which would lead to a serious social problem in the Biobío Region.
“It would’ve been irresponsible to increase the quota at those levels based on social pressure. Today, 75% of sardine fishing is artisanal, of which 100% of it is allocated to fishmeal production, therefore the pressure to increase the quota comes mostly from the processing facilities,” warned van der Meer. “The exploitation of the common sardine is an example of good fishery management that has been maintained for years and that must be preserved through management practices that include scientific criteria,” she added.
The common sardine is a critical element of Chile’s marine ecosystem and fishery in the eighth region. It’s a food source for many marine species and according to socioeconomic estimates, 214,000 people depend upon it.