Chile unveils fisheries law, mussel brand

Chile has a new fisheries law that incorporates the needs of both the public and private seafood sectors. The law was announced by Pablo Galilea, Chile’s vice-minister of fishing, on 23 April during the European Seafood Exposition in Brussels, Belgium. 

The new law incorporates sustainability, research, industrial fishing, inspections and small-scale fisheries and was developed with criteria agreed upon by NGOs Greenpeace, Oceana and World Wildlife Fund. The criteria include: the definition of biological reference points (BRP) and maximum sustainable yield (MSY); establishment of 11 technical scientific committees (eight on fisheries, three on aquaculture) that will decide on the availability of fishery resources, BRP and catch quotas; obligation to submit an annual public account stating the exploitation status of fishery resources; reporting of catches and landings; and prioritization of fisheries and aquaculture research programs.

The law also covers measures to conserve vulnerable marine ecosystems; allows fishing licenses to be transferable; and says scientific advice will be imposed over political and commercial considerations in decision-making procedures such as establishing quotas and area closures.

“We want to make better decisions in the future,” Galilea said during a press conference at Chile’s stand at the show. While much attention has been put on the country’s salmon-farming industry, Galilea noted that attention will be paid to other fisheries such as mussels. “Chile wants to be a world power in aquaculture.”

Chile’s Mussel Producers Association recently created the Patagonia Mussel brand to highlight the region’s mussel production. “The creation of this brand aims to give the product a unique identity based on its main features, namely cultivation in cold, pure water, a great taste, quality and texture, and high nutritional content,” said Pedro Ovalle, executive director of Patagonia Mussel and commercial manager of Chiloe Seafoods.


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