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Chile Reveals Plans to Move to 'New Aquaculture'

09 July 2015

CHILE - A report containing concrete proposals to promote competitiveness and innovation in the aquaculture sector has been released by the Chilean National Fisheries Service (Sernapesca).

The report is the result of work carried out under the "Dialogue for Productivity Aquaculture" public-private body created in October last year, the framework of the Agenda for Productivity, Innovation and Growth, led by the Government.

The document was unveiled in a ceremony at the Production Plant of abalone company Seafood Resources Chile, in the city of Las Cruces, and was led by the Minister of Economic Development and Tourism, Luis Felipe Céspedes, Undersecretary of Fishing and Aquaculture, Raul Súnico and the Director of the National Service for Fisheries and Aquaculture, José Miguel Burgos, among other authorities.

At the ceremony, Minister Céspedes said the report generated a series of proposals on institutional, regulatory, productivity, and sustainability of the aquaculture industry.

"Those are the steps that have been delivered today. We as a government are committed to the development and growth of our country and this is the kind of exercise we need to do more often, with a long-term view."

He added: "Chile has important strengths for the development of aquaculture, especially considering what will be the future demand for healthy food, we will open many opportunities, but we must do so in a sustainable way.

"We have to generate support, regulation, training and knowledge needed to develop, and that is the spirit of these dialogues. "

A 'new aquaculture'

Mr Céspedes stressed the need to move towards a 'new aquaculture', improving, for example, the conditions of regulation. However, he emphasised that this is not achieved by reducing standards in sustainability, "but keeping or even increasing them, generating, though, the possibility that the solutions to those problems do not affect the competitiveness and productivity of our companies."

In that sense, Mr Burgos assessed contributions in the report, and said that the institution will start working on a project that will contribute to reduce competitiveness gaps identified by the report.

"This will work collaboratively with the Austrialian science agency, CSIRO, which has extensive experience in developing software risk management in mining, fishing and other productive activities, allowing us to generate predictive models for disease control," he said.

The project will integrate separate sectoral Sernapesca data, thereby improving decision-making of surveillance and control programs, such as for the ISA virus, for example.

"As it is now done with a precautionary approach, we may soon 'careful aim' and make more accurate and targeted decisions, which will maintain standards of sustainability, but without affecting the competitiveness of our industry in the international arena."

Main proposals given in the report

  • Establish financing mechanisms for investigating issues of public interest associated with aquaculture.
  • Implement a Strategic Programme for national aquaculture, with participation from both the private sector and the state.
  • Implement regional plans for public investment in infrastructure (ports, housing, utilities, etc.), promoting the interaction between industry and responsible public services through biannual joint planning workshops, providing them with tools to assess the fulfilment of goals.
  • Installing a ProChile programme devoted exclusively to the promotion of aquaculture products and providers of services and commodities industry.
  • Install regional training plans and skills training, established jointly between industry and the specialised services of the State, with evaluation of goals according to the specificities of each production activity and region.

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