Aquaculture for all

Chile's Congress Postpones Aquaculture Law

Salmonids Politics +1 more

CHILE - A new General Fisheries and Aquaculture Law (LGPA), originally foreseen for this year, has been postponed to 2010, after the presidential election.

The LGPA will be passed by the Chilean Congress next year, according to FIS. Citing a report in Diario Financiero, it adds that voting on the project modifying the present norm has been postponed until after the presidential election.

According to Minister of Economy, Hugo Lavados, the senators argue that the delay in discussing the new norm is due to work overload, the fixing of new priorities by the Executive branch, and to discrepancies that still persist in labour matters and with respect to the duration of aquaculture concessions.

The majority of legislators of the Treasury Commission of the Senate wants to define the project that modifies the LGPA – considered key for the salmon farming industry – after the elections.

According to local reports, it is anticipated that there will be a second run-off, which would be carried out 10 January.

Therefore, it is possible that the norm moves on to the Senate by the end of the first month of the new year, and then returns to the House of Representatives for a third legislative proceeding, as it has already undergone many modifications.

Senator Hosain Sabag explained: "We are at the end of an election, with just a very short time to legislate and, therefore, the most advisable is to legislate in a period of calm, once the electoral uncertainty is concluded, because many decisions are made politically and these things that are for many years must be made fresh."

Seantor Carlos Ominami told Diario Financiero: "I have noted that it concerns a project that does not make anybody happy; not all the problems were well resolved. The executives themselves are about to have a calmer discussion, and they also think along the lines of the fishermen and ecologists."

The president of the Treasury Commission, Evelyn Matthei, explained that they hope to put this project to a vote by all its members immediately after the elections.

In turn, Senator Camilo Escalona considered it "disadvantageous to paralyse it". In his opinion, they could continue discussing it next week, Diario Financiero reports.

It is a very complex project "that intersects many things of a sanitary nature and organisational aspects of the industry, which is why once activated, it is going to require three or four sessions at least", Matthei added.

Minister Lavados recognised that "there are complex subjects that need time to breath [in the text]" and that "often the will of the parliament representatives is the first to be lobbied".

"It is necessary to see how all the opinions and all the points of view fit together. We have to get things to work" so that the project leaves the Congress, the Minister added.

Meanwhile, authorities of the Bank of Chile, one of the main creditors of Chile's salmon farming industry, indicated their concern over the delay in LGPA modifications.

The general manager of the organisation, Fernando Canas, urged swiftness in the treatment of the legal initiative, according to FIS.

"We would like there to be a resolution as soon as possible because this is a sector of very important economic activity for the country, which is having delays in its normalisation, the product of which is that the regulatory framework is not clear," he said.

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