Representatives from 22 countries will meet in Chile's coastal town of Reñaca, Region V, at the end of this month to discuss creation of a regulatory body to monitor fishing in the South Pacific. The fishing industry ÃÂ¢€ represented by Sonapesca ÃÂ¢€ is expected to agree with ecologists on the need to limit currently unrestricted fishing of scad (horse mackerel) in the Pacific's open waters.
Promoted by Australia, New Zealand, and Chile, the first rounds of negotiations took place last year in Wellington (February 2006), and in Hobart (October 2006). The outstanding participants of the meetings were those from the European Union (EU), the United States, China, Russia, and Japan, and the Pacific Chilean members (Peru and Ecuador). During the third stage 200 delegates are expected to be present and participating in important bilateral meetings previous to and throughout the gathering. "We hope that this time provisional measures may be produced. We believe the final accord can be delayed since with 22 countries negotiating, this is neither quick nor easy, but provisional measures can be imposed and we request that while negotiations last, fishing be put on hold. Meaning no more vessels can be added to the harvesting of jack mackerel," said Hector Bacigalupo, General Manager of the National Fishery Association (Sonapesca). One of the main targets for these meetings is to demand that the countries fishing in high seas, adhering to the International Rights Regulations, co-operate with the norms such as the ones Chile imposes on jack mackerel, in order to guarantee the sustainability of the resource. Chile expects the trans-zonal resources to be regulated, such as jack mackerel, and the 'discreet', which include demersals such as orange roughy and red bream, sword fish, and other species such as mackerel and giant squid. According to officials, more than half of traditional fishery is made up of jack mackerel catches, which are processed into fish oil and fishmeal -a main feed for salmons. Its direct human consumption use has also shown significant increase in volume, representing more than 50 per cent of the jack mackerel volume landed last year. "It is necessary and crucial that the entire country assign as utmost priority these negotiations. Our authorities, political as well as from the sector, supported by the private sector, must produce a plan of action, and implement it in an efficient and timely way. We must obtain our sovereign rights in the 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), in our ports, and at deep sea, where our rights to interfere are guaranteed under the norms," according to Sonapesca. Meanwhile, the Chilean Fisheries Workers Confederation issued a letter to the country's President Michelle Bachelet, requesting that the RFO meeting "safe guard" Chile's interests at this important gathering, in order to reach a regional fisheries agreement with fixed norms for the South East Pacific, "the only end of the world not protected from the depredation of powerful factory vessels which navigate the five oceans." The confederation manifested its conviction that Chile must head this collective agreement, not side-stepping its rights to defence and clear definitions as a coastal country. (FIS)