Illegal hake fishing doubles authorized catches, according to WWF
2017-04-19 16:26:48   copyfrom:    hits:

Common hake, Merluccius gayi gayi (Photo: WWF Chile)CHILEThursday, April 13, 2017,02:30 (GMT + 9)Illegal, unreporte
 

Common hake, Merluccius gayi gayi. (Photo: WWF Chile)

 

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Thursday, April 13, 2017, 02:30 (GMT + 9)

 

Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing for common or Chilean hake (Merluccius gayi gayi), considering artisanal fishers and the industrial fleet, could reach levels between 33,000 and 40,000 tons per year, according to a study by WWF Chile.

The conservation organization points out that these volumes would exceed between 1.76 and 2 times the total annual quota allocated for the common hake resource at the national level, based on the levels set until 2014.

"Illegal fishing is a serious and growing concern, since it erodes efforts to conserve and manage fish stocks in a responsible way," explains Valesca Montes, Fisheries Coordinator at WWF Chile.

WWF argues that among the conditions that encourage this practice, one is the resource biomass deteriorated state, which causes lower capture quotas, which result in the loss of income. This causes the authority to implement new controls, without creating substantive solutions, which prevent more fishermen from carrying out illegal practices to maintain their economic income.

The organization also points out that other factors that affect fishing fleet overcapacity are the mistaken distribution of fishing quotas, the existence of demand or market for illegal resources, insufficient control capacity and a series of bad practices in the sector.

According to WWF, in the case of artisanal illegal fishing, the highest incidence is recorded in the regions of Maule and Biobío, where the most critical scenario shows that the illicit landings would exceed by 5.62 and 7.21 times, respectively, the declared landing. On average, at domestic level, illegal fishing for common hake by the artisanal fleet would exceed the quota 3.8 to 4.5 times.

With respect to the industrial fleet, the report indicates that there is also illegal fishing, which is transferred to smaller-scale vessels.

Thus, in its most conservative scenario, the study estimates that IUU fishing for common hake reaches 33,000 tonnes, excluding discarding on larger-scale industrial vessels.

"These results present a worrying panorama for the sustainability and recovery of the fishery, which in 2015 was in a state of collapse and has now been categorized as overexploited," stresses WWF Chile.

In order to combat, eliminate and discourage illegal fishing for common hake, the NGO proposes a strengthened national plan that considers the particularity of the regions covered by this fishery and has the funding to implement awareness programs aimed at the population and fishermen.

It also emphasizes the importance of the State's role in managing the fisheries crisis and the need to consider improving inspection systems and implementing mandatory traceability systems as well as prioritizing the effective enforcement of standards and sanctions to combat IUU fishing.

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