SANTIAGO – Chilean artisanal fishermen protested on Wednesday against a more than three-year-old fisheries law that they say strips them of their livelihoods.
“This corrupt law has all (artisanal) fishermen in Chile at risk of extinction. It’s tailor-made for the country’s biggest families ... we see that all the benefits are for the industrial sector and we’re left scrounging around for scraps,” a member of the Higuerilla de Concon artisanal fishing community, Manuel Serrano, said in a statement.
The law awarded rights to the lion’s share of fishing resources to private companies under renewable 20-year contracts, a provision that artisanal fishermen say crowds them out of the market.
They complain that the law – enacted in early 2013 by the administration of then-President Sebastian Piñera, who governed from 2010 to 2014 – effectively granted fishing rights “in perpetuity” to the large business groups that control this productive sector.