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SERNAPESCA Axes Montalva Over Deepening Salmon Crisis

CHILE - Chile's National Fishing Service (SERNAPESCA) has sacked director veterinarian Ins Montalva. She has been replaced by Felix Inostroza Corts, an engineer with an MBA.

Montalva has been under intense pressure to resign for what critics describe as her poor handling of the current salmon industry crisis. The sector is being decimated by Infectious Salmon Anaemia (ISA). The worst area affected is Region X.

According to Mercopress, Montalva’s departure from SERNAPESCA is being welcomed by the salmon industry’s many critics, among them members of Congress, who say the government has done little to prevent salmon companies from abusing its workers and ruining the environment.

“The SERNAPESCA director didn’t even come close to showing the kind of impartiality we require of our government authorities,” said Socialist Party Deputy Fidel Espinoza in the Santiago Times.

"She made decisions that absolutely favored the salmon companies and which were detrimental to local fishermen. As a result, it’s ended up being members of Congress who must fight, so that the salmon industry’s growth doesn’t come at the expense of its workers and the environment. She ceased to represent all of the players and instead became simply a representative of the salmon companies,” he added.

Cortés has worked as Montalva’s sub director since 2003. He launched his public service career during the early years of the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship.

The change in SERNAPESCA leadership is also being closely observed by the environmental NGO Ecoceanos, which is hoping Felix Inostroza Cortés will be more forthcoming than his predecessor when it comes to sharing information about the salmon industry and other fishing activities.

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