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Rodrigo Sarquis, Sonapesca president. (Photo: Stockfile)

'Peru does not respect horse mackerel fishing allocated volumes,' warns Sonapesca

Click on the flag for more information about Chile CHILE
Monday, April 29, 2013, 03:20 (GMT + 9)

The sharp decline in horse mackerel catches worries the Chilean fishing industry, who claims that this situation is due in part to the overexploitation of this resource by Peruvian fishermen.

The president of the National Fisheries Society (Sonapesca), Rodrigo Sarquis, warns that Peru does not respect the horse mackerel catch quota proposed by the Commission of Regional Fisheries Management Organization of the South Pacific (ORP-PS).

For this reason, Sonapesca intends that the Chilean government meets with the authorities of the neighbouring country and urges them to sign the Agreement on the Conservation and Management of High Seas Fishery Resources in the South Pacific Ocean.

According to Sarquis, in 2012 the Peruvian fleet had committed to fishing 120,000 tonnes, but it ended the year with 170,000 tonnes. And the ORP had suggested not to exceed 30,000 tonnes of horse mackerel.

The fishing leader recalled that in 1992, Chile's participation in horse mackerel catches -- in the southeastern Pacific area -- was 95.4 per cent, which dropped last year to 52.4 per cent, reported Economía y Negocios.

In addition, in 1990 Chile caught 2.4 million tonnes of horse mackerel and in 2012 about 229,000 tonnes, a huge difference.

This sharp decline in fishing volumes hits the national fleet, of which only one third is kept operational.

"We had 150 ships in operation and there are now 50 operating vessels in the south central area," stated Sarquis.

"If China and Peru are out of this regional fisheries organization, it will be very difficult for the horse mackerel fishery to recover, and evidently the Chilean industry will suffer these consequences," he continued.

Sarquis explained that the government "has focused this issue in the Department of Environment and Maritime Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DIMA) and the Undersecretariat for Fisheries," but he argues that a greater commitment from the government is required to "seek a fisheries agreement with Peru to level the playing field."

Meanwhile, Roberto Angelini, president of Pesquera Iquique-Guanaye (Ingemar), described the scenario that his company had to face in 2012 in the central-southern area of the country as "complex and challenging," due to the horse mackerel allocated catch quota.

"The horse mackerel catch quota, the main resource of the area, was the lowest in history and it was 12 per cent lower than that of 2011. Such adverse situation was mitigated, in part, by the behavior of the resource, which on being in a fishing area that is nearer makes it possible to perform catches at a lower cost," he stated.

Last year, Ingemar recorded a loss of USD 14.7 million, compared to the profit of USD 1.9 million it made in 2011, reported Valor Futuro.

Related article:

- Industrialists worry about horse mackerel quota cut

By Analia Murias


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