In an attempt to deal with overfishing in an industry that makes up 5% of Chile’s export economy and nearly 14% of its workforce, Chile’s Congress is considering a law that would establish quotas (among other things) in an attempt to revitalize the (probably-doomed) industry. However, the law is facing significant opposition from small-scale fisherman who have taken to the streets to protest a law that they say favors industrial fishing companies even while it destroys their own livelihood. The protesters have erected blockades and marched in several port-towns, with some demanding a meeting with the Minister of the Interior to address their concerns as artisanal fishers. In spite of the opposition from small-scale fishers, the Minister of Economy, Pablo Longueira, described the law as one that “Chile needs.” While overfishing is indeed a very real and extremely serious issue facing not just Chile but all of the world’s oceans and fisheries, it is not clear that the current law, which does appear to structurally give more power and leeway to larger businesses, is going to solve these problems.
[UPDATE added by Scott Dempsey Crago]:
This is an incredibly important topic,as the privatization and regulation of natural resources in Chile for the gain of multinational corporations has continued to hurt local industries and indigenous communities like the Mapuche. Many of these protests against neoliberal expansion have been met with overt violence, with the Chilean government labeling such movements as acts conducted by ‘terrorists” and “anarchists” as means to discredit an validity in these claims. For further reading, please see here. Mapuexpress is an excellent source for stories that remain absent or highly skewed in Chilean news