Salmon industry accused of opposing Marine Coastal Protected Areas in Aysen

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By Patricio Segura
Nelson Matissine, historic leader of the fishermen of Aysén, accused the salmon industry of intervening in the process of discussion on the Marine Protected Coastal Areas (ECMPO) in order to stall the process.  The Huichas Islands fisherman made these statements during the 2nd Workshop of the Regional Commission for the Use of the Coastal Border, held on Wednesday at the Regional Government of Aysén, as a prelude to the vote to be held on Thursday, February 29.
On the occasion, the leader expressed that "it was clear that there is a determination on the part of the aquaculture industry that this process should not advance, that it should be stalled."  In this sense, he pointed out that this can be appreciated by the participation in these spaces of actors who, in other circumstances, would not be able to do so.  "We have limited resources.  And when we have to defend our territory, because of the above, then we do not have the means to move economically. But it has become clear that the industry, I want to be responsible, has moved a large number of people, of people, of organizations, and has distorted all this. And I have not accused it myself, but many have repeated it," he explained.  
He added that "you will understand that a single aquaculture concession is valued at millions of dollars. Therefore, what would it cost to get a little to be able to finance a campaign to discredit, to basely and vilely print lies that are not true?"
Regarding the interests of salmon farming, he said that "no fishermen's leader is against the industry, we are against bad practices. And here it has been openly pointed out that what they are after is more and more territory, more leeway with respect to what they want. And this request kind of slows them down a little.  But it does not mean that they are being prevented from continuing to produce, they can continue to produce. They have their acquired rights within the ECMPO."
During the workshop, which lasted all day in both face-to-face and online formats, multiple regional actors from different sectors as well as coastal residents presented their points of view.  In many cases, they were aligned with the interests of the salmon industry, recognizing that they are social leaders and fishermen, but at the same time workers of aquaculture companies or service providers for this productive sector.
A key point was the request for greater transparency and participation in this type of process.  In this regard, it was suggested that this requirement is necessary not only for this particular case but for all those involving decisions on the coast and the Aysén coastline.  This is due to the fact that when decisions have been made on relocations and salmon farming concessions, these types of petitions have not been heard from the same actors who are today demanding greater participation. 

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