New Chilean fisheries laws
Chile's seamounts are home to abundant coral reefs and marine life Photo: Oceana/Eduardo Sorenson
Chile has established a set of new fisheries laws protecting underwater sea mountains, limiting bycatch and setting science based quotas, protecting 150,000km² of marine habitat.
The new regulations ban bottom trawling in the country's vulnerable marine ecosystems, including all 118 underwater sea mountains, or seamounts, establishes a system in which all fishing quotas will be based on scientific recommendation, and requires the implementation of reduction plans for bycatch and discards for every commercial fishery.
International Advocacy Group, Oceana, which was instrumental in achieving the reforms, has welcomed the news as a historic milestone for the country.
Alex Munoz, Oceana's executive director in Chile, said: "We are happy that this new law includes the tools needed to establish sustainable fisheries management in Chile; but what's most important is that as a result of this long debate, we have come to understand, as a country, one of our great missions is to recover our overexploited fisheries.”
The Chilean Congress has also voted to overhaul how it sets quotas for its fisheries. This means that rather than rely on the commercial fishing industry to set its own catch limits, as has been the practice previously, regulators will set catch limits based on the best scientific recommendations moving forward.
Oceana says that although this news is a victory, there is still work to be done to ensure that the government implements these new regulations.
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