Centro Ecoceanos rejected the political-communication campaign from the government of Sebastián Piñera, that is blaming the population of sea lions (Otaria flavescens) to be a plague that threatens artisanal fishing and the development of the salmon farming industry. In this context, the Undersecretary of Fisheries (Subpesca) allocated 500 million (about 800,000 dollars) for artisan fishermen and consulting firms to present projects to “solve” the growing competition of scarce fishes in a privatized Chilean sea.
Subpesca is promoting sui generis “competition of ideas”, with prizes from public money: It will provide a peculiar code of conduct for the artisanal fishermen, carried out by researchers from the Catholic University of Valparaíso, to reduce the interaction with the sea lions and proposes to buy expensive and failed systems of sound deterrence, the latter supported by the lobby of consulting companies.
The director of Centro Ecoceanos, a veterinary doctor Juan Carlos Cárdenas stated that “it is false what the government says that there would be an overpopulation of sea lions, which would have increased by 70% in recent years, due to the lack of predators.”
Cárdenas assures that “the reality is that the Chilean State is not aware of the population size of sea lions in its territorial waters because the various censuses carried out in recent decades have been characterized by being discontinuous, performed at various times of the year and using non-standardized methodologies, therefore not comparable”.
Translate by: Madicken Hagstrom