Hake capture onboard a trawler. (Photo: Subpesca)
Illegal hake fishing makes about USD 30 million annually, Asipes denounces
Monday, July 04, 2016, 06:20 (GMT + 9)
The Fishing Industry Association (ASIPES) estimates that profits for those involved in gangs engaged in illegal fishing and marketing can reach USD 30 million annually. For this reason, the association urges the authorities not to reduce efforts to control and punish those responsible for this crime that prevents recovery of fisheries and affected resources.
The claim performed by ASIPES comes after incidents in recent days in artisanal fishing terminals in Santiago, Valparaiso and Talcahuano, where traders and artisanal fishermen opposed by force to the financial controls of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (SERNAPESCA).
The figure presented by ASIPES applies only to incomes from the capture and sale of hake resource without origin certification because according to a study performed this year by the NGO Centre for Development and Sustainable Fisheries (CEDEPESCA) in Chile around 20,000 tonnes of common hake are illegally caught.
Illegal fishing or capture of fishery resources refers to the crime of obtaining fish or shellfish improperly without fishing authorizations or stolen from growing or handling areas without awareness of their recovery and affecting the sustainability of these species.
"Fishing quotas for the artisanal sector and the industrial one are built under the logic of protection and recovery of species so that they become a renewable and feasible resource to create jobs for all those who participate in it," explains Macarena Cepeda Godoy, ASIPES head of sustainability.
In the case of hake, the quota for artisanal fishermen is 9,200 tonnes, but it is illegally caught three times that number, " so in the absence of a change in this trend, hake will end up extinct," the specialist points out.
For this reason, ASIPES supports the increasing number of audits that are being run on different fishing terminals to prove the legal origin of fish and seafood sold there.
"Illegal fishing is a serious crime and it is not possible to make it depend on the fact that quotas are small. The problem lies in the number of vessels available to the artisanal fleet, where there are many that catch the few fish in existence, "stresses ASIPES head of Public Affairs , Veronica Ceballos Barrón.
Meanwhile, she notes that fishing is free from illegal fishing, since the fleet is monitored by the authority via GPS, and is certified for unloading and traceability of all its products.
"Blaming the fishing industry for the decline of this fishery is to intend to divert attention from the underlying problem," emphasizes Ceballos.
From the association, they recall that the artisanal sector has an exclusion zone of five miles to capture their resources, and emphasize that at present, 60 per cent of Chilean fishing resources are allocated to the productive sector.