The House of Representatives approved this week a draft agreement to ban trawling in Chile. With 55 votes in support, six against and five abstentions, the deputies voted in favor of the Draft Resolution No. 100, which requests the Executive to submit a legislative initiative to amend Article 49 of Act No. 18,892 in order to ban fish catching by trawling.
The preamble to the draft stresses that most of the species caught by trawling are discarded and it is estimated that trawling is responsible for over 50% of discards worldwide.
The proposal aims to prohibit the use of nets and bottom trawl systems within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and territorial sea.
The aquatic resources that can only be caught with such nets and systems should be exempt, with a technical report prior to ensure the preservation of the marine environment, the Chamber of Deputies reported.
The grounds for the initiative mention the General Law on Fisheries and Aquaculture, which provides for the periodic evaluation of the effectiveness of the actions taken, and the consideration of the impact of fishing on the associated or dependent species and preserving the aquatic environment.
In addition, it is explained that trawling nets dredge the seabed, remove or destroy everything on their way, seriously affecting all species that live there, challenging the approach and ecosystem management of resources.
The National Council for the Defense of Fisheries (CONDEPP) spokesperson Henan Machuca stated that the decision taken is very beneficial for artisanal fishermen and for the development and care of the environment, Diario UChile reported.
Gradually reducing the effort of trawling is a presidential commitment, where marine ecosystems harmed by trawling also benefit, he pointed out.
Meanwhile, Osciel Velasquez, president of the Association of Industrial Fisheries of Coquimbo, stated that trawling has been demonized in Chile, since 80% of the world catch for human consumption is carried out with this system.
Here we are compared to trawling in Central America, which is not selective and takes place at shallow depths, taking additional resources to the target catch. We fish between 300 and 600 meters deep, which is another reality, he clarified. (FIS)