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New Chilean Law Ensures Sustainable Fishing, Aquaculture

30 April 2013

CHILE - During the European Seafood Exposition in Brussels, the Chilean authorities unveiled a new ambitious national legislation that will ensure the seafood exported by the South American country is produced in a sustainable manner.

British and European consumers will be able to buy products that fulfill international norms supported by the EU, FAO and OECD, along with criteria promoted by Greenpeace, Oceana and WWF.

Pablo Galilea, Chile’s Undersecretary for Fishery, announced the new legislation, explaining that the new law "will give stability and sustainability to this productive sector. We want to offer high-quality products to Europe and emergent nations, but knowing that they all were originated from a sustainable fishing and aquaculture production."

The new law makes mandatory the fulfilling of several international norms by Chilean producers, as well as the creation of eleven scientific committees that will take decisions regarding availability of fishery resources, BRPs and quotas. In addition, there will be public annual reports about the state of fishery resources, scientific criteria will have prevalence over political or financial decisions, vulnerable marine ecosystems will be protected, bottom fishing will be banned until there is evidence that is does not harm the environment, and there will be special support for research programmes about fishing and aquaculture.

According to Cristián López, director of ProChile UK, the London office for the Chilean Export Promotion Bureau, the new legislation will bring direct benefits to British consumers: "Consumption patterns are changing in Britain and the European Union, with consumers moving towards convenience products, produced in a sustainable way, with low carbon footprint. This new law continues the work that our country has been doing in the last years and shows that Chile is ready to supply this growing demand."

"Our country has big natural advantages, because we have one of the longest coastlines in the world, cold clear waters and natural abundance of fish," explained Cristián López. "But overall, we have an experienced and innovative industry, with trained workforce, competitive labour costs and environmentally friendly processes," he added.

One of Chile’s main differentiators has been the quality of its products, and this feature has been the key to reach new markets. Nowadays, Chile is among the 10th most important producers of seafood in the world and the second largest producer of salmon, after Norway. In recent years its trout and mussels have become very popular in British and European markets. Chile has also been acknowledged by the quality of its scallop, squid, red abalone, Chilean king crab, stone crab, Australis and Chilean hake.

Chile exports its seafood to more than 100 destinations all over the world. In 2012, it exported $3,999 million in seafood, with Japan, the US and Brazil as main destination markets. In the case of Europe, during the same period seafood exports totaled $428 million by the European Union and $144 million to other countries in that continent.

Approximately 25 per cent of the values of total exports in the category of seafood to the European Union in 2012 were of high value added products with different canned preparations. Furthermore, successful cases have incorporated not only the ‘Ready to Eat’ but also ‘Ready to Cook’ concepts.

TheFishSite News Desk

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