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Illegally caught Chilean kelp. (Photo: Sernapesca)

SERNAPESCA seizes over 14 tonnes of illegally caught Chilean kelp

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Thursday, December 07, 2017, 00:40 (GMT + 9)

SERNAPESCA control team in the Region of Coquimbo achieved three important procedures last week, after seizing 14,500 kilos of illegally caught Chilean kelp for trading and processing.

From SERNAPESCA, it was highlighted that citizens’ complaints have been key in these cases, although unfortunately the environmental damage is irreversible for the sustainability of the resource and other species that depend on algae.

Roberto Vásquez, head of fisheries inspection of SERNAPESCA Regional Directorate, explained that the first of the operations was in Panul sector, where two registered artisanal vessels operating outside the authorized management area were caught after having caught 3,900 kilos of barred black Chilean kelp. Barring consists of a method allowed only in specific areas and by assigned quota, because it is a technique that, with the help of a pike or jig, uproots the living plant.

"We managed to detect two boats that were performing this illegal activity and with the help of the Navy it was possible to take them to port and carry out the seizure and appointment procedure. The total amount of seizure was 3,900 kilos," said Roberto Vásquez.

In the second operation, this time in coordination with the office of SERNAPESCA Huasco (Atacama region), the inspection team intercepted a load of 7,500 kilos of Chilean kelp that had been illegally barred in that region - where this technique is prohibited - and transferred for processing at Luis Véliz plant in Oruro sector in Ovalle.

The third operation was in Arrayán sector, between Hornos and Coquimbo cove, where a registered plant kept three tons of barred Chilean kelp in the drying process.

The whole resource was seized and the offenders summoned to court for infringement of the Fisheries Act.

So far this year, 64,846 kilos have been seized in the Coquimbo region, including the Chilean kelp, seaweed stick (Lessonia trabeculata), and long bladder kelp (Macrocystis spp). The greatest illegality was concentrated on the Chilean kelp resource, with 42,766 kilos this year alone.

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