Organizations urge to maintain moratorium on salmon farming concessions in Los Lagos and Aysén

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Press release, Terram Foundation (March 26) - The ISA virus crisis that hit the Chilean salmon industry between 2007 and 2009 was a milestone that marked a before and after for this sector, since in addition to implying economic, social and environmental impacts, it led to a review of the environmental regulations that governed the salmon activity at the time, incorporating a number of substantive changes to aquaculture regulations.
 
One such regulation was the application of "moratoriums" in the regions of Los Lagos and Aysén through a legal amendment to the General Law on Fisheries and Aquaculture (Law No. 20.434). This measure has meant the suspension of entry and authorization of salmon concessions in the aforementioned regions for almost 10 years, but which will be lifted this Wednesday, April 8, the date set to end the measure.
 
However, a new report “concerning the end of the term of moratoriums on aquaculture concessions in the regions of Los Lagos and Aysén,” prepared by Fundación Terram, in collaboration with Fundación Melimoyu and the conservation organization WWF Chile, warns that this measure was used because "one of the main problems identified – at that time, and persisting to this day – was the poor spatial ordering of aquaculture activity resulting from the explosive and inorganic growth that it had in these regions.”
 
As such, the technical report warns that a number of tools that would seek to alleviate the health and environmental problems that the industry continues to experience to this day – and that were raised as solutions during the ISA crisis– are far from meeting their objectives and therefore it would be risky to raise the moratoriums for Los Lagos and Aysén.
 
One of these tools would be the relocation of aquaculture concessions, which was called for in order to put in place a new plan for the distribution and zoning of aquaculture sites so as to address the increasing density with which the industry has developed (and one of the causes of the expansion of the ISA virus). Yet, and due to various reasons cited in the report, to date no relocation procedure has been successfully completed.
 
The document also clarifies that another important pending process is the completion of the zoning processes of the coastal border of the Los Lagos region, as well as the modification to coastal zoning in the Aysén region, as this tool defines the areas that are incompatible with this activity, including minimal marine areas entirely excluded from salmon farming, among other exotic species, because of their proximity to protected land areas adjacent to the sea.
 
It should be noted that the lack of management tools for salmon farming resulted in declaring the  moratorium in 2012, which was then renewed in 2015, in the regions affected by the high concentration of aquaculture centers but which is now set to expire.
 
“As we near the end of the moratorium, it is clear, and urgent, that there must be an extension of the measures currently in force in these two southern regions, understanding that adequate health and environmental management, based on the precautionary principle and ecosystem approach, is indispensable for the development of the salmon farming industry, especially considering that in the Los Lagos and Aysén regiosn there are already 537 and 724 concessions granted, respectively," states the report by Fundacion Terram, Fundacion Melimoyu and WWF Chile.
 
  
 
 

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