22 Jan 2018 - [translated by Google] The marine conservation organization Oceana Chile evaluated the approval of a new Marine Park in Juan Fernández on Monday, but denounced that "interests at stake and political pressure" prior to the vote of the Council of Ministers caused the protected area to be reduced.
The Council of Ministers for Sustainability approved the creation of a Marine Park of 262 thousand square kilometers, plus a Coastal Marine Protected Area of Multiple Uses of 24 thousand km2, totaling an official protection of 286 thousand square kilometers.
However, initially it had been considered an area of more than 400 thousand square kilometers, which failed after meetings with artisanal fishermen and large fishing companies.
The executive director of Oceana, Liesbeth van der Meer, said that what was resolved today "is a great step for protection". However, "what was requested was more: 485 thousand square kilometers and the extension of its Marine Protected Area of Multiple Uses that was up to 24 miles.
"There was a very big lobby behind, a lot of pressure from the Ministry of Economy for this area to be reduced and the fishermen from Lebu - who fish for swordfish - could fish in this area as well, and that was partly welcomed", he added.
While the leader of the fishermen of the island, Andrés Salas, said that this is another step that takes place in pursuit of protection and valued the news.
"As our parents always thought of us, the idea of us was to think about our children so that this does not end now, so the only way to protect that is by creating a fence that is a marine park, where no one can fish," he said. .
He indicated that "previously, 10 years ago, we had nothing protected and now we have 420 thousand km2 protected is a great achievement."
However, fishermen from the Albacore fleet from the Coquimbo Region to the Los Lagos Region arrived on Monday until access to the Ministry of the Environment, where they asked that they not be restricted from accessing the swordfish resource.
The leader of the artisanal fishermen of Lebu, Sergio Maldonado, said that "we are not industrial, we are craftsmen, 170 average boats are operating, the interests are natural for those who work six months in the year in that area".
"It has already dropped 200 thousand km2, now what we are asking is to be told graphically which is the area that was contemplated, we made a proposal that is from Selkirk Island towards the limit of the Chilean exclusive economic zone," he said.
Minister of the Environment: "We are conserving almost twice the area of land Chile"
The Minister of the Environment, Marcelo Mena, talked about the new marine parks with La Historia es Nuestra de Cooperativa, where he cataloged the measure as historic and explained the reduction in the size of the protected area.
"The current design allows the first opportunity to fish what is recovered by the Chilean fishermen, and at the same time, conservation is reconciled to protect the interests of artisanal fishing, fundamentally Juan Fernández's albacore fishing", he added.
Regarding pressures from the fishing sector in the approval of the new marine parks, the owner of the environment said that "here is a discussion of multiple actors that we have to listen to." When one talks about fishing lobby, the ministry responded to the fishermen's lobby craftsmen, who have been searching from another area of Chile, who go to the island of Juan Fernández and who also had activities in the area, so we had to be able to reconcile what we wanted to keep ".
"It is a dialogue of interests that is natural, regulated and transparent that allowed us to achieve a unique ocean conservation, conservation voices were important and prevailed in this discussion," said Mena.
Finally, the minister celebrated the approval of the parks, assuring that "today we are number one internationally." Chile has never had such a high conservation, it was around 800 thousand km2 at the beginning of this year to one million 300 thousand km2 It is something historic, we are conserving almost twice the area of Chile Terrestre ".