By SeafoodSource staff
Published on Thursday, February 02 2012
The Chilean sea has been systematically plundered over the last two decades and mackerel stocks have been reduced to a critical level.
Mackerel stocks have diminished by 90 percent over the past 20 years and mackerel catches falling from 2.3 million tons to just 500,000 in just 10 years, according to a Greenpeace study.
“The situation is critical,” Samuel Leiva of Greenpeace told Radio Universidad de Chile. “We only have 20 percent of the fish that we had back in 2000.”
But the question of who is responsible has become a highly contested topic. The Chilean government has blamed China, Russia and mainly Peru, despite new reports implicating Chile as the principal culprit.
According to a report by the Ninth Group of Scientific Work, between 2000 and 2010, 75 percent of catches of mackerel were made by Chilean boats. Furthermore, Chile’s National Fisheries Council (CNP) has consistently ignored scientific recommendations made by the Institute of Fisheries Development (IFOP) to reduce mackerel fishing quotas to a sustainable level.
These revelations come as the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Fishery Resources in the High Seas of the South Pacific Ocean (ORP) started on Monday in Santiago. Representatives from South America and the European Union are gathering to agree upon new fishing regulations.