Table of Contents

  • Chile is a major player in the world fishing scene. In 2006, it ranked fifth in the world in terms of production from capture fisheries, seventh with respect to aquaculture production (dominated in Chile by salmon and trout farming), and was the seventh largest exporter of fish and seafood. In the Chilean wild fisheries, the most abundant species are the pelagic species (jack mackerel, sardine, anchovy and “caballa” mackerel) and which are fished primarily by a modern industrial fleet. There is also a large artisanal fleet that has exclusive access rights to waters five miles from the coastline, providing employment and food for many coastal communities.

  • Chile has experienced significant changes in its fishing and aquaculture activities over the past fifty years and has become a major world player; In 2006, Chile was ranked fifth in terms of production from capture fisheries behind China, Peru, the US, and Indonesia. It is the seventh largest producer of aquaculture products behind China, India, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Bangladesh. Chile is also a major player in terms of world trade, being the seventh largest exporter behind China, Norway, Thailand, the US, Denmark and Canada.

  • Chile’s territories are located in continental South America, on the Antarctic, in Oceania, and in the Pacific Ocean. Its continental coastline stretches 4 337 km (measured on a straight line), while its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) totals almost 2.8 million km2. In the Chilean wild capture fisheries, the most abundant species are the pelagic species of jack mackerel, sardine, anchovy and “caballa” mackerel. Salmon and trout farming dominate in aquaculture production. In 2005-2006 a total of 156 species were recorded as having been landed, comprising 75 fish species, 35 mollusk species, 25 crustacean species, 18 species of algae, and three other species).

  • Chile has a well established governance system in place for fisheries and aquaculture activities, both in the public and private sectors. In broad terms, the public sector sets the basic rules for these activities as they are undertaken either in public waters or refer to common property renewable resources, while the State represents public interests and views. In turn, the private industry has well organized institutions representing their own interests, while fishers also have strong representative associations that operate on their behalf. These parties, working separately and together, focus on local and international issues, and are responsible for the sustainability of the available natural resources and the environment, social development and maximization of wealth accrued by all parties directly involved, as well as that of society as a whole.

  • Chilean fisheries have evolved rapidly over the last 50 years. During this period, all the phases of what might be considered a “normal” path of development have been experienced: high development rates in landings and farming volumes in the early years, followed by overcapitalization in fisheries, overexploitation of the natural resources, bans in certain fisheries, and environmental and sanitary impacts in aquaculture. At the same time, management policies, systems and institutions have evolved to address these challenges and have been adapted to new circumstances in order to improve managerial systems and governance.

  • The efficient and effective regulation of fisheries and aquaculture requires scientific information based on the best available knowledge on fish populations, environmental conditions, oceanographic dynamics, social realities, etc. The role of science in managing and developing fisheries and aquaculture is significant and is a perquisite for a profitable industry and a healthy environment. This chapter reviews the delivery of scientific inputs to the management process in Chile.

  • Chile is an active member in many of the international forums and agreements governing fisheries and the oceans. Indeed, Chile was in the vanguard of the movement to extend the EEZ out to 200 nautical miles. Chile is one of the original signatories of the 1952 Declaration of Santiago on Maritime Zone (‘Declaración de Santiago sobre Zona Marítima’), in which Chile, Peru and Equador proclaimed their exclusive sovereignty and jurisdiction over their coastal waters ‘... up to a minimum distance of 200 miles’ from their coastlines, including the corresponding seabed and its subsoil. This declaration proclaimed the right to impede an irrational exploitation of the natural resources, which might jeopardize their existence, integrity and conservation, negatively affecting local populations that possess in those waters and land irreplaceable sources of livelihood and economic wealth that are vital to them. To implement this agreement, the three countries created the Permanent Commission of the South Pacific, CPPS, an international juridical body with full capacities to undertake agreements, etc. In 1979, Colombia joined the CCPS. In 1982, the rest of the world followed with the UNCLOS agreement establishing the 200 miles EEZs on a worldwide basis.