Salmon farming ban in Argentina opens the way to fully eliminate the transnational salmon industry in Chilean Patagonia

Pueblos Kawesqar y Yagan instan a que ley que prohibió industria salmonera en Argentina sea replicada en Chile
Indigenous peoples of Patagonia demand that the Law that prohibits the salmon industry in Argentina be replicated in Chile

Ecoceanos Centre pointed out that the prohibition of establishing industrial salmon farming centers in the bi-national and strategic Beagle Channel, “constitutes a strategic defeat for the interests of Norwegian companies in Patagonia, as well as the first political-environmental victory of the Patagonian canoe Yagán and Kawésqar peoples against this mega transnational industry, in alliance with the citizens of Chile and Argentina ”.

Punta Arenas, July 26st, 2021 (Ecoceanos News) – The Tierra del Fuego legislature unanimously converted this 06.30.2021, into a provincial law the bill by deputy Pablo Villegas of the Fuegian Popular Movement, which prohibits the salmon farming industry in the waters of the Beagle Channel.

Villegas pointed out in the Buenos Aires newspaper Clarín that what happened “is a bet in favor of life and economic activities such as tourism, which generates local work and favors and benefits various social sectors. The message is clear: saying No to salmon farms is possible »

Villegas stressed that «The sanction of this law is a clear and forceful institutional definition that highlights the importance for Fuegians, the protection and conservation of our natural resources, the genetic heritage of our living beings and their environment for economic development sustainable»

In Argentina, the only viable place for the establishment of the transnational salmon mega-industry is the pristine waters of the Beagle Channel in Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia, which concentrate a great terrestrial and marine biodiversity, among which iconic species of mammals and birds. As well as concentrating 50% of the macroalgae forests existing in the country, which are key carbon sinks for the planet.

The consequence of a very little diplomatic visit to the end of the world

In March 2018, the Norwegian kings Harald V and Sonja visited the Casa Rosada with a Nordic business delegation, meeting with then-President Mauricio Macri and the Minister of Agroindustries to sign a cooperation agreement to study the feasibility of developing intensive industrial salmon farming. in Patagonia Argentina.

The agreement was rejected through demonstrations carried out by the inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego and the neighboring communities Yagan de Puerto Williams, commune of Cabo de Hornos and Kawesqar de Puerto Natales in Chile, together with the various environmental organizations of both South American countries.

Story of a salm-failure announced

Following their strategy of geopolitical expansion in South American Patagonia, through the establishment of salmon farming centers, the Norwegian kings visited President Sebastián Piñera in Santiago de Chile in March 2019, to carry out a covert lobby for the expansion of the salmon industry in the pristine waters of Magellan.

Then they visited, with an entourage of 60 businessmen from Nordic companies, the cities of Punta Arenas and Puerto Williams in Chilean Patagonia, where they were received with strong signs of rejection from the citizens, the Yagan and Kawesqar communities and NGOs who gave them a letter stating “No to the Salmoneras in the Beagle Channel”.

Indigenous Peoples and the fight against salmon farms

The Yagan and Kawesqar indigenous communities, who have played an active role in defending the southern territories and rejecting the salmon industry, showed their joy with the law that prohibits the installation of salmon farms on the Argentine side of Tierra del Fuego.

Leticia Caro, from the Kawesqar people told radiodelmar that «we are very happy with what was achieved in Argentina related to the salmon industry. This shows that citizen action, indigenous peoples, and provincial parliaments are effective.»

“It is important to highlight the action of the neighboring country, as it has allowed its inhabitants to decide their development priorities and these become effective. Under this scenario, it is necessary to restructure the form of government, install a direct democracy that respects the processes for both Indigenous Peoples and citizens in general, «said Leticia Caro.

Meanwhile, María Luisa Muñoz from the Yagan community affirmed that «from the beginning it was clear that they rejected this extractive and destructive industry, and this marked our movement as a Yagan Territory without salmon farms, and this struggle is still ongoing.»

«From our territory, we have the representation of our constituent delegate, who must do a great job to put our demands, one of the main ones being the safeguarding and protection of our territory. And that nature is a subject of law and create laws that protect them, «added Muñoz.

For his part, David Alday, also a member of the Yagan people, valued the joint struggle between the citizens of Argentina, Chile and the indigenous communities. «This example shows that there are no borders, the channel does not separate us and on the contrary, it makes us stronger.»

«The ban on salmon farms in Argentina has a history and the first milestone was the expulsion from Onashaga (Beagle Channel) of three salmon farming concessions. To this I add the rejection of the visit of the kings of Norway who came to support the salmon companies. They were going to be with some 60 businessmen for several days, but they only managed to stay for two hours because of the protests we did, «Alday told

Representative Yagan also affirmed that «the Law approved in Argentina must be replicated in Chile and that Puerto William must establish its development based on what the local communities propose.»

Norwegian Salmon Kings

This rejection also happened during the visit of the Nordic kings to the National Library in Santiago de Chile, where demonstrations carried out by Ecocéanos together with the Association of Museum Archives officials of Chile evidenced opposition to the Norwegian salmon expansion in the southern territories of Chili.

Paradoxically, the visit of Kings Harald V and Sonja together with the delegation of Norwegian businessmen, was preceded by successive scandals caused by Norwegian salmon companies in southern Chile: The massive escape of 900,000 salmon from the facilities of the Marine Harvest company ( now Mowi) on Huar Island, Chiloe, a situation where this company successively violated Chilean aquaculture regulations.

This was added to a series of sanctions applied by the sector authority to the Nova Austral company, for installing salmon farming infrastructure outside the concession areas, operating with expired permits and mismanaging its hazardous and polluting waste.

At the time of the actual visit to Patagonia, local communities were in serious conflict with Nova Austral, for its attempt to illegally establish salmon concessions in the Cape Horn World Biosphere Reserve.

Defeat for transnationals salmon companies in Patagonia

For Juan Carlos Cardenas, the Ecoceanos Centre Director, “the public and massive rejection of the pro-salmon lobby attempt that the kings of Norway tried to carry out in Chile and Argentina, marked a turning point in this popular fight against the transnational salmon industry, and the defense of life and the rights of coastal communities and indigenous peoples in the Patagonian seas ”.

Ecoceanos Centre: International Boycott of Salmon

For the veterinarian and director of the Ecoceanos Centre, the prohibition of the Tierra del Fuego legislature for the salmon industry to establish itself in the bi-national and strategic Beagle Channel, “constitutes a great strategic defeat for the interests of the salmon business in general. and Norwegians in particular, in their assault on South American Patagonia, as well as the first political-environmental victory of the Patagonian canoe peoples Yagan and Kawesqar over this transnational mega-industry, in alliance with the citizens of Chile and Argentina »

Cardenas called on citizen organizations and indigenous peoples of Chile, Argentina, Canada, Norway and Scotland to take advantage of this opportunity and join forces to strengthen the actions to boycott the consumption of «Industrial Chemical Salmon» to eliminate this destructive and polluting industry from the areas. most pristine on the planet.”

Support the boycott campaign against salmon farming industry :

***** END *****