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Chilean Officials Celebrate Sea Month

CHILE - The National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service of Chile (Sernapesca) has celebrated the annual Month of the Sea, which this year was dedicated to small-scale aquaculture.

The Director of Sernapesca, José Miguel Burgos, participated in the traditional ceremony, organised jointly by the University Andres Bello and the Undersecretary of Fisheries and Aquaculture.

The event took place on 19 May in Quintay.

The event was dedicated to small-scale aquaculture because the organisers believe that it is set to become an engine of development and diversification in the coming years.

The government is therefore aiming to drive the industry forward, both from a regulatory point of view, and through the development of various investment projects.

Such projects include tools like the Fund for Artisanal Fisheries Development, whose board is chaired by Mr Burgos.

At the event, the Undersecretary of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Raul Súnico Galdames, said that given the complex situation caused by the collapse of major fisheries, and overexploitation of many fished species, it is imperative to work to generate long-term income diversification of artisanal fisheries, especially those affected by the reduction of catch quotas.

"This requires very significant cultural change.

"It requires research capacity, technology transfer, accompanying the projects, legal and administrative changes and interaction and joint efforts of different actors. That is the call we make today to open ourselves to a profound change," Mr Galdames stressed.

During the event, an invitation was extended to people all over the world to participate in the 'Our Oceans' conference, to be held in Valparaiso in early October.

Mr Burgos explained that one of the central themes of the conference is sustainable fishing and that the institution will participate in the organisation and implementation of the event.

"The state of our fisheries resources and the discussion of how we intend to create recovery, has to be a concern of all citizens, and in this sense we will take advantage of 'Our Oceans' as an occasion to open this debate and involve the community, to empower them so they become actors in this process," he added.