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Challenges Facing Aquaculture

Economics +1 more

CHILE - The cultivation of marine resource is an activity in Chile which has developped rapidly over the past 20 years.

The most important crops for Chile are salmon, mussels, Gracilaria, oysters, abalone, according the Undersecretary of Fisheries, Pablo Gailea. These products were valued at US$2.337 million in 2009.

Aquaculture has transformed not only economic indicators at the national level but also has changed the dynamic of the economy in regions where it is attached.

The enactment of the bill amending the regulation of aquaculture, is the culminating step of the process that began in 2007 with the health crisis of the salmon. This imposed a stop to this activity and we raised the need to make the necessary adjustments to project over time.

This has imposed a change in the approach of how to carry out production, as it is regulated and controlled by the authority. The lesson has been hard, because the bad practices of some producers have been able to affect an entire industry.

The crisis demonstrated the importance of environmental and health variables for good performance, maintenance and growth of the activity, thus a first challenge will be to implement the mechanisms of the new law and its regulations, which must ensure the health and environmental heritage of country to maintain the conditions of competitiveness.

One of the elements for diagnosis emerged in the crisis was the lack of planning on the sites of the concessions, as well as individualism in the operation of farms.

While there are areas suitable for aquaculture, they have not contributed enough to the land use planning. The zoning of the coast, appeared to be incompatible with the proper areas not recognised by the fisheries law. Also, the installation or even just interest of farms in areas of artisanal fisheries haspromoted neighbourhood conflicts. Hence, the compatibility of zoning the coastline to the appropriate areas will be an opportunity to advance a more orderly and comprehensive process of land occupation.

The three southernmost regions of the country have halted the procedure for applying for grants, allowing the regions progress in regional agreements. All this poses significant institutional challenges.

The second element to consider is diversification. The salmon crisis has forced us to consider other types of crops, as this will help us not only to overcome health problems, but also potential market problems. This is a great challenge for the industry, to produce new aquaculture species with as much or more success in international markets as the Chilean salmon.