Congress approved the modification of the general law n. 18.892 on fisheries and aquaculture, concerning the prohibition of catching salmonid species from aquaculture crops, after a four-year process.
The event was celebrated by marine conservation organization Oceana, who see it as an important step to regulate an industry which, they say, has systematically refused to be transparent and take environmental responsibility following the leaks.
“This concludes the work of years, in which together with many organizations we have worked to guarantee something basic, such as transparency and access to information on contaminants or aspects of this economic activity that can affect people’s health and the In addition, this law prevents the occurrence of leaks, establishing effective penalties that the current legislation has prevented,” explained Javiera Calisto, legal director of Oceana Chile.
‘Civil society, artisanal fisheries and science were heard, demonstrating their cross-cutting support for the project,’ he added.
The new law obliges salmon farms to make data on the use of antibiotics, pesticides, mortality and production transparent, favoring the improvement of an activity that generates high impacts on the environment.
Since 2014, Oceana has begun to request information on antimicrobial use and production per farm annually from the National Service of Fisheries and Aquaculture (Sernapesca), always meeting opposition from the majority of salmon companies, who argued that the delivery of these data affected their economic and commercial rights.
The refusal set off lengthy court proceedings that lasted up to four years, with salmon farms finally being forced to release the information, when it had already lost much of its value.
“Transparency of this data and timely access to information bring a number of social benefits. It is crucial to evaluate the management of each company, develop better public policies, encourage competition and reduce the use of antibiotics, pesticides and mortality, enabling consumers to make better decisions and carry out public oversight of the control actions that the law mandates to Sernapesca”. Calisto assured.
Another of the salient aspects of the regulation is linked to the establishment of strong economic sanctions for each salmon that escapes, establishing measures that prevent their presence, since, being introduced, exotic and classified as invasive species, they generate impacts on the fauna at a local level. and in species relevant to commercial fisheries, considering that in Chile salmon have no natural predators.
The law will also allow that, after a salmon has escaped, artisanal fishermen can capture the specimens, qualified by science as the most effective measure for their recapture.
“This law establishes a modern regulation, which guarantees the penalty for salmon runaways, providing incentives for companies to recover them efficiently and therefore reduce the fine, thus allowing to reduce the externalities of this sector,” said Calisto.
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