Fishing in Neoliberal Waters: The Political, Social, and Environmental Context of the Ley de Pesca in Chile
Backen, Jane Cooper
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Backen, Jane Cooper
Around 80,000 families in Chile depend upon the fishing sector for their livelihood; however, for the one country able to boast the longest coastline in the world, many Chilean families consider having fish on the dinner table a luxury (Futuro: 2012). Part of the reason for this can be analyzed through the history of one law: la Ley General de Pesca y Acuicultura. The Ley de Pesca, or Fishing Law, was originally created in 1907 under the presidency of Pedro Montt. The law changed the government’s approach to the age-old practice of fishing in Chile, and laid the foundation for the legislation in place in the country today. Approval of modifications to the law in 2012 have been controversial; information disclosed the following year indicated the involvement of bribery from large-scale fishing company Corpesca in the Senate vote. Chile’s age-old interaction with the neighboring sea and its marine resources, in addition to the influence of Neoliberal policies implemented under Augusto Pinochet has resulted in widespread public outcry and continues to remain present in public discourse to this day. The research set forth seeks illustrate the way in which the Chilean Ley de Pesca came into being and to draw a connection between the law and a larger Neoliberal framework—one of which that has influenced not only Chile over the last few decades years, but much of Latin America as a whole. This research confirms what other research from Williams and Disney 2015, Ueyonahara 2012, Godoy 1998 and Mansfield 2003 have found. The issue of overexploitation of marine resources in many Latin American countries, in many cases, involves a complex relationship between large and small-scale fishers, which of whom have been tasked with maneuvering neoliberal policies largely implemented during the late 20th century and early 21st centuries. Those people who have relied on public fishing as their livelihood have experienced a large adjustment after the transition to neoliberal policy and management of marine resources centralized much of the fishing rights of the country.