President of Chile Michelle Bachelet received this week at the La Moneda presidential palace, the final report from FAO on the current situation of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Act (LPGA) governing this activity in Chile.
Following the hearing, the president instructed the Minister of Economy, Development and Tourism, Luis Felipe Cespedes, and Undersecretary of Fisheries Raul Sunico to meet with the various stakeholders involved in the fishing and aquaculture activities to publicize, analyze and discuss the content of the report.
Delivered to the Head of State by Eve Crowley, representative of the agency in Chile, and Alejandro Flores, FAO Fisheries Officer for Latin America and the Caribbean, the report contemplated a multidisciplinary project for its creation, as well as the participation of representatives of the industrial, artisanal, academic, non-governmental organizations and indigenous peoples’ sectors.
FAO emphasizes that the LPGA incorporates a number of principles of modern fisheries legislation such as the sustainability principle, the ecosystem approach and the precautionary principle that demonstrate the importance of maintaining fisheries resources and their protection in the future.
Notwithstanding this, it believes that there is still room to improve legislation and complement it at the level of legislative drafting, development of complementary legislation as well as in its effective implementation, to align it with the tools and good international practices for sustainability and good governance of the fisheries sector.
Among the key findings and recommendations, the FAO report recommends expanding, gradually, the concept of Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries (EAF) included in the LPGA, to include other biotic components and the human dimension of the ecosystem; as well as its interactions, implementing an integrated fisheries within ecologically meaningful boundaries.
It also recommends that the LGPA must include, within its guiding principles, specifically food security. Regarding climate change, FAO report recommends including the possibility of developing actions at regulation level to promote the assessment, prevention and development of sector adaptation capacity to climate change.
Moreover, FAO considers that the way to access and assign rights must be adapted to local conditions and circumstances, ensuring the sustainable management of fisheries resources and the implementation of the fisheries approach based on rights.
In this sense, it recommends to recognize and guarantee the rights of native peoples to fishery resources, including their management and conservation, and encouraging their participation in the fisheries sector, without prejudice to the rights that legally correspond to other users.
According to FAO, it is necessary to reevaluate the criteria for entry in the artisanal register (for boats and fishers), since the current system has loopholes that allow the expansion of fishing efforts in an unplanned way.
Moreover, the report suggests revising the sanction system and the criteria used for setting fines. It is suggested to establish sanctions that are effectively deterrent, that is to say, avoid penalties that are not consistent in terms of the severity of the conduct, the FAO adds.
In addition, it proposes to assess the appropriateness of tougher administrative sanctions, such as the suspension of licenses or quotas.
It also notes that, in general, it is observed that it is necessary to better define the tasks and functions of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (SERNAPESCA), and suggests reviewing the responsibility for offenses and penalties due to illegal activities with which the agency operates.
Another point that the report underlines is the need to pay attention to the fishing sector workers’ specific rights and obligations, such as the recognition of the activity as a high-risk job. (FIS)