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10 de marzo de 2010 | |

Privatizing the Sea

Chilean Parliament studies controversial salmon project

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The Chilean Parliament is about to pass a controversial bill, which is considered by social and environmentalist organizations as an attempt to privatize the Chilean sea.
The industry of salmon, one of Chile´s main export products which grew 1300 per cent since early 90s to 2007, has suffered many hits since, such as the ISA virus (Infectious Salmon Anemia), which has caused great losses.

In response, the centre-left wing government granted subsidies worth hundreds of million dollars to rescue the industry, which was severely questioned by the civil society.

Criticism was not only based on the fact that the government was using money of the citizens to rescue a private industry, but also on the negative effects this represents for the environment and the workers, since salmon companies incur in anti-unionist practices and do not comply with international safety standards. In Chile, salmon farming is the second cause of death related to labour at a national level, after construction works.

Now, the Chilean Parliament is studying a bill to modify the Fisheries and Aquiculture Law, which according to the government aims to reactivate the industry of salmon.

This has been extremely criticized by civil society organizations from Chile: according to them, the law privatizes the sea, since it grants 25-year concessions.

But another was the opinion of the House of Representatives which decided to move forward with the bill, and today it will be discussed by the Senate.

Photo: Ecoceanos

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