The Chilean government is working on a bill that would limit the expansion of salmon farms and prohibit the development of salmon farming in marine protected areas, new Chilean President Gabriel Boric said in a televised news conference.
"The government has been convinced that the industry (salmon farming) has acted very recklessly, so we have presented a bill on declaring a moratorium on salmon farming expansion." Boric said.
"That is, the government will not issue additional licenses as long as there are no environmental studies that determine that the seabed (ecology) can absorb the stresses generated by commercial salmon farming. Likewise, the government will encourage the development of alternative industries that are both harmless and not damaging to the environment." Boric said.
"We must aim to not damage the environment as our development, because to damage the environment is to damage ourselves. It is clear to me that there will be no more salmon farming in marine protected areas. It's as simple as enforcement, and that's what this administration will fight for." Boric said.
Boric also mentioned that given the many jobs created by the salmon industry, the new bill should be open to public debate to further understand the many families that depend on the industry for their livelihood. "This isn't about shutting down farms and ending the salmon industry - after all, thousands of people depend on the industry for their livelihood. Rather, it's about protecting our marine ecosystems, and there should be no activity in these protected areas other than doing conservation work."
According to SalmonExpert, the main matters raised by Boric include
- Assessing the environmental and economic impacts of aquaculture in the southern region, particularly in terms of water quality, biodiversity and the seabed.
- Increasing funding for the Chilean National Fisheries Aquaculture Agency (Sernapesca) to allow it to conduct additional and more thorough salmon farming inspections, including the use of state-of-the-art technology, the training of new inspectors and the construction of new vessels.
- Giving Sernapesca the authority to ensure that salmon farms comply with the country's environmental rules.
- Complete the delineation of farming areas and the reassessment of suitable aquaculture areas in the country.
- Conducting studies on the environmental impact of salmon farming densities and reducing farming densities when the farming industry affects the environment.
- Evaluating third-party service companies to determine whether they are operating within acceptable environmental and social standards.
- Promote dialogue between business leaders and workers to identify improvements in production processes that promote sustainable production without harming employment.
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