Chilean common hake

Chilean common hake

Fishery Improvement Project

Last Update: January 2019

Species: South Pacific hake (Merluccius gayi gayi)

FIP Stage according to CASS progress table:  4, FIP is delivering improvement in policy or practices

FIP Rating according to SFP rating system: A(Exceptional Progress, Jan 2017)

FIP Rating according to MSC benchmarking tool: Initial (2012): 0.61; Second (2013): 0.60; Third (2014): 0,64; Fourth (septiembre de 2015): 0,64; Fifth (septiembre de 2016): 0.68; Sixth (2017): 0,66; Seventh (2018): 0,70

FIP Profile at Chile common hake – bottom trawl (in update process January 2019)

Fishery Location: Chilean waters.

FIP Coordination: If you would like more information about the FIP or if you wish to support it, please contact Claudio Barrientos.

FIP Participants:

Sustainability InformationSouth Pacifichake – Chilean

Date Publicly Announced: 2012

Previous (initial) Improvement Recommendations

  • Consolidate stock assessment model after the international peer review – DONE
  • Develop a recovery management plan for the fishery with clear goals, terms, and harvest rules – PARTIALLY DONE
  • Establish TAC according to the scientific recommendation – DONE
  • Collect data on the impacts in the seabed and demersal/benthic communities – DONE

 Current Improvement Recommendations:

  • Minimize the illegal fishing and illegal trade, which are undermining other management efforts. This needs a simultaneous effort to address the social effects of TAC curtails and to reinforce landing, transportation and trade controls.
  • Consolidate the recovery management plan for the fishery with clear goals, terms, and harvest rules.
  • Redefine the percentage of by-catch establishing an annual rate and a higher tolerance per individual fishing trip.
  • Conduct a study on the feasibility and benefits associated with the elimination of the minimum catch size for hake, which might be currently associated with the generation of discards.
  • Publication of the results of the Discards Research Program in order to devise and implement mitigation measures as soon as possible.-DONE
  • Reconsider stock assessment results, given that it has been shown that for a long period of time actual removals have exceeded reported removals.


The TAC for 2017 has been set at 25,000 metric tons –an 8.7% increase, after three years of it being set at 23,000 metric tons (2014, 2015 and 2016).  The 2014 TAC had represented a strong curtail from previous levels, and was set following the recommendation from the Scientific Committee (in line with the new requirements of the Fisheries Law that calls for the achievement of the biomass associated with the maximum sustainable yield in the short term). The Chilean hake TAC is split between the artisanal sector (40%) and the industrial sector (60%). The industrial fishery is conducted by bottom trawling, while the artisanal fishery relies mainly on gillnets, although there are still some minor operations conducted with longlines with a small number of hooks (similar to handlines).

While improvement efforts had been in place for this fishery since 2007 (with the support of Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) and CeDePesca), the FIP was publicly announced in May 2012.  Since then, the FIP is led by SONAPESCA (Sociedad Nacional de Pesca, fishing industry association) with technical support from CeDePesca.  The FIP’s goal is obtaining the MSC certification.

After Chilean scientists put in practice a major change in the stock assessment model, the most recent evaluations showed that: the status of the stock was barely at the limit reference point, and although the recruitment seemed to have not been impaired, the recovery process stalled since 2010.  An external peer review ratified the results of the improved assessment model. In 2014, after obtaining the results of the direct assessment, scientists concluded that the stock remains in a state of fragility and vulnerability because of its low biomass and unstable age structure.  In fact, biomass continued to decline, showing a negative variation of 8.8% over the previous year.

During the last several years, FIP members have talked to authorities about the urgent need for a recovery management plan with clear goals, terms, and harvest rules.  In this regard, the latest amendment to the Chilean Fisheries Law aims primarily to ensure the sustainability of fisheries and, in consonance, substantive changes were incorporated into the management system.  Changes included the creation of Scientific Committees and Management Committees, and the requirement to set management plans for fully exploited fisheries incorporating measures to recover them to sustainable levels.  The Management Committee for Hake held its first meeting in September 2014, and agreed to work on eliminating illegal, unreported fishing.

The under-reporting of landings coming from the small-scale sector is an important issue that remains unsolved. The strong curtail of the TAC tended to incentivize this practice, as hake is the only livelihood for many families in the country. CeDePesca is supporting SERNAPESCA’s current efforts to fight illegal fishing and, at the same time, is asking to improve and reinforce controls in order to avoid maneuvers such as transshipment at sea from more regulated over-13m boats to less regulated under-13m boats, and illegal trade through uncontrolled trucks.  On the other hand, CeDePesca is requesting that the authorities address the social problems arising from the conservation measures, while reducing the incentives for illegal practices.

In particular, in 2015 and 2016, CeDePesca conducted a study of the estimation of the artisanal underreported catches in the VI, VII and VIII Region, concluding that the minimum total under-reported catch is around 25,000 metric tons.  The results of the study were presented to SUBPESCA, SERNAPESCA, ARMADA, FIFG, and also to the fishing commission at the Congress’s Chamber of Deputies.

On the other hand, a strong controversy surrounds the role of jumbo squid (Dosidicus gigas) as a predator of hake. Peer reviewers have accepted that jumbo squid should be taken into account as an extra source of natural mortality. The FIP partners have been discussing with the authorities about the need for a more accurate understanding of this interaction. In addition, over the last 5 years, an artisanal fishery for jumbo squid has developed at the same time as hake has become scarcer, so now artisanal fishers are interested in conservation of the jumbo squid and have claimed exclusivity for this resource. For the industrial sector, jumbo squid has become an alternative too, so to solve this new conflict the fishing authorities established a TAC of 200,000 metric tons, split between both sectors (80% artisanal, 20% industrial).

Another important matter to be solved in order to get the MSC certification is to have a better understanding of the impacts on the ecosystem and to incorporate ecosystem data collection and analysis into the research plan. This has started to be solved through the enforcement of the new rules about discards and bycatch. In this context, CeDePesca held in October 2014 an Ecological Risk Assessment Workshop (ERAEF) for the hake fishery, whose report would be included into the management plan being discussed by the Management Committee for Hake.

The main destinations for this fishery’s landings are domestic consumption of fresh and fresh-cooled presentations, and the export of frozen products.  In 2015, 1.1 thousand metric tons of frozen common hake products were exported, for an estimated value of $2.7 million US dollars.  In 2014, 3.2 thousand metric tons were exported.  Regarding destination countries, the USA remains the largest customer, followed by Spain and other countries.

This fishery has Walmart as one of the main customers and has been sensitive to Walmart’s commitment to sustainable seafood.

FIP Objectives:

  • To promote the adoption and implementation of a recovery plan for the fishery with clear goals, timeframes and harvest rules by April 2018.
  • To minimize, and eventually eliminate, under-reported fishing and illegal trade of hake in the artisanal portion of the fishery by April 2020.
  • To continue to understand and, if necessary, mitigate the impacts of the fishery on the ecosystem by April 2020.
  • To achieve an MSC certifiable status and enter full assessment by April 2020.


Progress Update:

2007 – 2009

In 2007, the general manager of SONAPESCA approached CeDePesca with the goal of better understanding the certification procedures and potential difficulties and solutions.

A number of meetings were held with industry leaders, and the US supply chain encouraged a dialogue with the artisanal sector in order to smooth the way towards an MSC certification.

An MSC pre-assessment was conducted in 2009.


In June 2010, the MSC announced that the Chilean common hake fishery was undergoing MSC full assessment.

In December 2010, the National Fisheries Council approved a quota cut for Chilean hake. The Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for 2011 was set at 47,000 tonnes, 14.5% less than in 2010, but still not enough to ensure full recovery of the stock.


After the full assessment started, the stock assessment results published in February 2011 and December 2011 estimated the stock was in significantly worse condition than previously thought.  The reproductive biomass had been under its limit reference point since 2004, and while it has been recovering and fishing mortality has dropped during the last 5 years, the stock’s reproductive potential was still in a fragile state (RB=12.8% RB0) and its age structure remained unstable.

By the end of 2010, the Undersecretariat of Fisheries (SUBPESCA) had stated its intention to keep cutting the TAC during the next 2 years until it is in line with scientific advice. CeDePesca has been following up on this, encouraging TACs to be established strictly according to the scientific advice. SUBPESCA stated this will be done in steps during the next 3 years in order to lessen the socio-economic impact. The first year the curtail was 14.5%, and the second year it was a further 4%, though still not enough to ensure full recovery of the stock.

SUBPESCA contracted a peer review for the scientific model, which took place in September 2011, driven by two very well-known foreign scientists (Ana Parma and James Ianelli), and has named two officials to design (for the first time in the fishery’s history) a management plan.


April – June 2012

In April, the SUBPESCA-contracted peer review was available to the public and the Hake Scientific Committee had started to debate how to include the main findings in its future work.

In May, the first draft of a management plan was starting to be discussed with stakeholders. One of the topics of discussion with regard to the management plan is the improvement of the control measures to avoid under-reporting in both sectors (artisanal and industrial). As a background for these discussions, the Chilean Congress is discussing the new fisheries law and a discards regulation, in which very important topics are addressed, some of which were suggested by several improvement plans.

The formal FIP agreement was signed in May.

In June, CeDePesca sent a letter to the Congress detailing the improvements needed for the fisheries involved in FIPs.

July – September 2012

The discussion of the new fisheries law dominated the arena and no further advance for the FIP was possible.

October – December 2012

The stock assessment sent to SUBPESCA by the Institute for Fisheries Research and Development (IFOP) considered peer reviewers’ observations. According to the assessment, reproductive biomass had not recovered since 2010 and remained at ~19% of B0, barely at its limit reference point, while age structure remained unstable. Nevertheless, recruitment seems not to have been impaired.

The 2013 TAC approved by the National Fisheries Council (NFC) was 40,000 tonnes, an 11% reduction in relation to 2012 and a 20% reduction in relation to 2010. However, as recovery had stalled, IFOP recommended that the TAC should be around 26,000 tonnes to have a reasonable recovery expectation in the middle term, so the new TAC was still over the scientific recommendation.

At SUBPESCA’s advice to the NFC (page 37), the draft of the Recovery Plan for hake was delivered publicly and was expected to be approved and implemented during 2013.

The Chilean National Congress finally passed the new fisheries law in which significant improvements became binding:

  • The new approach to discards includes an on-board observers program that will collect information and policies will be defined ad hoc according with the obtained data. The common hake fishery is the first fishery where this new approach will be used.
  • All fisheries will have to be managed in order to attain Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) as a minimum requirement.
  • Decisions on the TAC will be in the hands of Scientific Committees instead of the NFC, and should lead the fishery towards MSY, considering timeframes, harvesting strategies and management plans proposed by the management committees.
  • Sectorial quotas have been redistributed in favor of the artisanal sector for most of the shared fisheries (for example, the artisanal-sector quota for hake was 35% and now it is 40%).
  • Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQs) may be lost under conditions where rules have been violated.


January – March 2013

In January, FIP members agreed on next steps after the Fisheries Law was passed by Congress and the first draft of the MSC assessment was delivered to the client. A workplan was drafted and the approval was postponed until March, after some legal issues related with the law were resolved by the Constitutional Court and summer vacations ended.

Also in January, SUBPESCA and CeDePesca held a meeting to discuss the necessary improvements in order to get a certifiable status for the fishery. As a result of the meeting, it was clear that:

  • Further reduction of fishing mortality (F) is necessary in order to achieve a real recovery of the stock.
  • SUBPESCA has already financially supported research plans to work on a better understanding of the interaction between hake and jumbo squid populations and therefore a better management approach for both resources.
  • SUBPESCA has already planned to do a Management Strategy Evaluation as recommended by the peer review.
  • SUBPESCA is prepared to execute the new discards policy for the hake fishery.
  • Some kind of catch certificate for local markets should be implemented in order to minimize under-reporting.
  • The Recovery Plan must incorporate the ecosystem approach in a more comprehensive way, including it in the Research Plan and management objectives.

April – June 2013

In May, SONAPESCA, CeDePesca, and SFP held a meeting to discuss and approve the improvement workplan, which SONAPESCA subsequently approved. Then CeDePesca and SFP held a meeting with SUBPESCA to present the workplan and discuss progress and further steps toward implementation. The main points were:

– To address the issues related to Principle 1 (Status of the stock):

According to the last IFOP report, it would be necessary to reduce fishing mortality by 50 percent to have reasonable levels of certainty on recovery of the stock. Thisdecisionwouldrequire:

  • A more precise determination of hake mortality caused by jumbo squid. This need would be addressed by developing a research project on jumbo squid.
  • More precise information on artisanal and industrial discards and underreporting, including discards in the demersal crustacean fishery. To accomplish this, on-board observer coverage needs to improve in both fleets.
  • A discussion with the government, in advance of the decision, about different types of compensation for the industry, crews, fish workers, and fishers.

– To address the issues related to Principle 2 (Impacts on the Ecosystem):

  • Implement the new rules about discards.
  • Develop a workshop on the Ecological Risk Assessment for the Effects of Fishing (ERAEF) to assess the impacts of the fishery on the ecosystem.

It was highlighted that all these topics must be included in the Management Plan, including practical measures to address the Ecosystem Approach.

All issues raised were welcomed by SUBPESCA. Several of them are already at initial stages of implementation. The ERAEF workshop is planned to be held in September.

In May, CeDePesca and SFP also held a meeting with the Fisheries National Service (SERNAPESCA) to learn which actions are to be implemented in light of the fishery law modifications regarding underreporting, and to recommend some actions (e.g., catch certificates for local markets) to minimize under-reporting. The suggestions were welcomed and SERNAPESCA officials described an extended set of measures under development to implement the new rules, such as catch certificates and vessel monitoring system for artisanal boats larger than 15 meters in length and inspections on the local commercial circuit for hake.

In June, CeDePesca and SFP held another meeting with SUBPESCA to discuss details of the ERAEF workshop to be held in September. The meeting also discussed progress on other fishery improvements, including the discards program and the progress of the management plan, in particular what should be the acceptable risk level as part of the decision rules. SUBPESCA expects that the Management Committee for Hake will be working in August, and approval of the management plan should be considered then.

Also in June, SUBPESCA, through the Fund for Fisheries Research and Aquaculture (FIP), called for research proposals for the project “Life history and population dynamics of jumbo squid in national waters” for a total of CLP 91 million (180,000 USD).

On the other hand, Resolution N°1416 was issued, authorizing the beginning of the Discards Research Program for the common hake fishery.

July – September 2013

In July, the University of Concepcion and privately run Fisheries Institute (INPESCA) submitted funding proposals to SUBPESCA regarding the Fund for Fisheries Research and Aquaculture’s project “Life history and population dynamics of jumbo squid in national waters”.

Rules regarding the confirmation of Scientific Committees were approved and a call for nominees issued.

In August, the fishery suspended its MSC full assessment until the new Fisheries Law is fully operative and management and research improvements show results. However, the FIP participants reaffirmed their commitment to the project.

October – December 2013

During this quarter, a work proposal to analyze the commercial circuit of underreported fishing was drafted at the request of SONAPESCA.

In December, after receiving advice from the Scientific Committees, the National Fisheries Council set this fishery’s TAC at 19 thousand tonnes for 2014 (Ministerial Decree N° 1410).


January – March 2014

In February, SUBPESCA conducted the first national workshop on the subject “Management Committee for Common Hake: Advancing towards Recovery of the Fishery”.  The workshop was held in Valparaíso and was oriented toward artisanal fishers. The goal of the workshop was to identify issues with the management system and to encourage fishers to participate in the process of forming the committee that will draft the Management Plan.

In March, SUBPESCA conducted the second national workshop on the same aforementioned subject, also held in Valparaíso and oriented toward artisanal fishers. More than 60 fishers participated in the workshop. The goal of the workshop was to present the selection process for members of the Management Committee.

April – June 2014

In May, the Government launched a mitigation program for artisanal fishers affected by the reduction of the TAC for Chilean common hake. The program provides every fisher with USD $300 per month, which will apply between August and December 2014. This initiative will benefit around 3,600 fishers from the regions of Coquimbo, Valparaíso, O’Higgins, Maule, Biobío, Los Lagos, Aysen and Magallanes.

Between May and June, SUBPESCA called for applications from those interested in being part of the Management Committee for Hake.

In June, CeDePesca and SUBPESCA met to discuss issues related to Principle 2, resuming talks to develop a workshop on the Ecological Risk Assessment for the Effects of Fishing (ERAEF) to assess the impacts of the fishery on the ecosystem.

July – September 2014

In July, CeDePesca and SONAPESCA agreed to conduct a survey at the main distribution centers and seafood markets of the Metropolitan Region to obtain an estimate of the variation in consumption of hake between 2013 and 2014. The research showed a very slight reduction (15%) while the TAC was curtailed by 50%. This result indicates a degree of underreported landings in several artisanal inlets, where most of the domestic consumption is centered.

Also in July, there was a meeting between CeDePesca and SUBPESCA to coordinate the preparation of the workshop on the Ecological Risk Assessment for the Effects of Fishing that is to be held in October.

In addition, IFOP’s research vessel “Abate Molina” started a new scientific cruise whose overall objective is to assess the hake stock, through the hydroacoustic method.

Also in July, the process of election of representatives of the private sector (artisanal sector, industrial and processing plants) to the Management Committee for Hake was completed. The primary purpose and mission of the committee is the development of a management plan aimed at rebuilding the fishery.

In August, CeDePesca held a meeting with representatives of wholesalers at the Terminal Pesquero Metropolitano. The purpose was to get a better understanding of the domestic supply chain and the probable illegal circuits for the commercialization of hake.

Also in August, CeDePesca held a meeting with the Deputy Director of SERNAPESCA, María Soledad Tapia, to get information about the special enforcement program for hake. CeDePesca also provided some information on illegal trade. It was also agreed to support SERNAPESCA’s campaign on avoiding hake consumption during the closure of the hake fishery in September.

In August, SUBPESCA expanded the hake closure to the shrimp trawling fleet in three regions because of bycatch issues.

In September, the first meeting of the Management Committee for Hake was held.

Also in September, CeDePesca and SUBPESCA continued organizing the workshop on the Ecological Risk Assessment for the Effects of Fishing (ERAEF) that will address the hake fishery.

October – December 2014

In October, the workshop on the Ecological Risk Assessment for the Effects of Fishing (ERAEF) was attended by representatives from SERNAPESCA, SUBPESCA, IFOP, INPESCA and SONAPESCA.

Also in October, the local fishing industry magazine AQUA published an interview to CeDePesca’s Executive Director, Ernesto Godelman, on the current situation of the hake fishery, the problems that threaten its recovery, and the issue of underreported landings and illegal trade.

In November, there was a meeting between CeDePesca and the Board of the Association of Seafood Traders at the Metropolitan Seafood Market, in order to work together to find solutions to the problem of illegal trade of hake, while working to develop a market tool to recognize the legal origin for seafood traded at the Metropolitan Seafood Market in Santiago.

In December, SUBPESCA announced the TAC for the hake fishery (23,000 tonnes for 2015 -Ministerial Decree No. 958-), that is in accordance with the range advised by the Scientific Committee and the recommendation from the Management Committee. The TAC increased by 4,000 tons in relation to 2014.

Also in December, CeDePesca issued a public statement regarding the situation of the common hake stock, its relation with some recent violent episodes that involved fishers in the VII Region, as well as illegal fishing and the FIP’s proposals for stock rebuilding. The press release was reproduced by the magazine AQUA.


January-March 2015

In February, meetings were held with the Director of the Fishers’ Union of Caleta Portales and the Regional Director of the National Confederation of Artisanal Fishers of Chile (CONAPACH), in order to assess the possibilities of working together in the recovery of hake, as well as discussing the current status of the resource, the problem of illegal fishing, the management committee’s work and next steps towards rebuilding the stock.

In March, CeDePesca and SONAPESCA met to discuss the current status of the fishery, advances in the discards program, the 2015 TAC, FIP progress and to plan FIP activities for 2015.

Also in March, IFOP conducted a workshop to disseminate the outcomes of the annual scientific survey conducted in 2014. The workshop was attended by nine exhibitors who gave several lectures on the relative importance of bycatch species, reproductive dynamics of the hake stock, estimates of biomass, abundance, spatial distribution of the stock, estimating the size composition, age and sex ratio of the stock, characterization of the spatial distribution of eggs and larvae, and oceanographic conditions associated with the spatial distribution of this species.

In addition, a new meeting took place between CeDePesca and the Seafood Trade Association, to discuss possible ways of collaboration to reduce the illegal trading of hake. The feasibility of developing partnerships with artisanal fisheries sectors, wholesalers and retailers was also discussed, with the goal of creating some kind of domestic market recognition for responsible behavior.

April – June 2015

In April, CeDePesca conducted research on seafood trade at the Free Trade Fair of the V Region. The aim of the study was to determine the marketing system of seafood in these establishments that are an important part of the domestic marketing network that has experienced strong growth in recent years and has become a destination for the sale of illegal fishing.

Furthermore, CeDePesca held a meeting with representatives of the wholesalers seafood sector in the VIII Region. The purpose was to get a better understanding of the domestic supply chain and the probable illegal circuits for commercialization of hake.

Also in April, CeDePesca handed to SUBPESCA the final report with the results of the Workshop on the Ecological Risk Assessment for the Effects of Fishing (ERAEF), which is to be incorporated into the management plan to be prepared by the Management Committee for Hake. This workshop was held in October 2014 and was attended by representatives of SUBPESCA, SERNAPESCA, IFOP, INPESCA and SONAPESCA.

In May, an act was issued in the Official Gazette regarding mackerel handline, where power is restored to SERNAPESCA regarding the seizure of illegal raw materials.

Also in May, CeDePesca continued research on the trade of seafood products in the Free Trade Fair, conducting a study in the Metropolitan Area which concentrates about 46% of the fairs in the country. A large crowd of homeowners buy seafood in these establishments, and it was possible to detect many cases where there is a lack of knowledge among the general public as well as among the tenants, regarding the origin of the fish and seafood that is being sold and bought. Also, it was observed that there are many suppliers of the VII and VIII Regions, areas that are estimated to concentrate the highest percentage of illegal fishing.

In June, a working group was formed to address the illegal entry of hake into the Valparaiso region. The initiative is headed by the Governor of the Province, Omar Jara, and the Regional Director of SERNAPESCA and was attended by representatives of fishing communities, the police, the Regional Ministerial Secretariat (SEREMI), the Internal Tax Service (SII) and the harbormaster.

Also in June, CeDePesca formally began the study “Estimation of underreported catches by the artisanal sector in the common hake fishery” as part of the 2015-2016 FIP workplan agreed with SONAPESCA.  The study aims at estimating the volume of underreported fishing by conducting field work activities in fishing communities located in the Chilean Regions V, VI, VII and VIII.  This research is rooted in the great importance of acquiring reliable data regarding this phenomenon in order to understand its magnitude and to extract necessary conclusions for the design and implementation of improvements to the management and control tools and rules, and to understand if there is a need to improve the stock assessment method as well.

July – September 2015

In July, IFOP begun the new scientific research campaign, whose overall objective is to assess the hake stock through hydroacoustic methods.

Also in July, the Management Committee for Hake met and the main topics addressed were the 2016 budget control and the importance of structuring a plan of social support -which must be covered by the management plan and the recovery program.  Actions were also agreed in order to combat illegal fishing and to attain the urgent strengthening of the enforcement program.

In August, the legal rule requiring artisanal fishing boats ranging in length from 15 to 18 meters to install a vessel monitoring system came into effect.   The measure aims at combating illegal fishing, ensuring the safety of fishers at sea, ensuring the protection of the most vulnerable fishers operating within the first nautical mile, and ensuring the sustainable use of fishery resources. Those who do not comply with the requirement will not get permission to sail.

October – December 2015

In October, the Scientific and Technical Committee for Hake made recommendations to SUBPESCA and the Management Committee for Hake, regarding the Management Plan that is in the process of enactment.

In December, CeDePesca turned in the first draft of the study “Estimation of underreported catches for the artisanal sector in the common hake fishery”, which studied the causes and mechanisms of this phenomenon in Chilean Regions V, VI, VII and VIII.  The estimates are consistent with previous studies on the cost and revenue structure of the artisanal fishery and with in situ observation of these practices.  SONAPESCA provided feedback aimed at further clarifying sections of the study, which are being reviewed to improve the document.

Also in December, the TAC for the hake fishery was set at 23,000 tonnes for 2016, in accordance with the range advised by the Scientific Committee and the recommendations from the Management Committee for Hake.  The TAC has been kept at the 2015 level.


January – March 2016

In January, SONAPESCA suggested the incorporation of the IV Region into the study for the estimation of underreported catches in the artisanal sector.  In consequence, field visits to the fishing communities of Coquimbo and Tongoy Guanakeros took place.

In February, CeDePesca made a public statement regarding a law project seeking to repeal the Fisheries Law.  CeDePesca warned about the danger of leaving fisheries under no regulatory framework, as well as the uncertainty that would arise while new legislation is discussed, particularly for resources that are overexploited as is the case of hake.

Also in February, in continuing with the underreporting study, field visits were conducted to fishing communities in the VIII Region, namely to Cocholgüe, San Vicente and Tumbes.

In March, a meeting was held with FIP partners to discuss the advance of the study, as well as to agree on their participation in the dissemination of the document to the authorities.  Afterwards, meetings with representatives of SUBPESCA, SERNAPESCA, IFOP, the Navy, and representatives of the Management Committee for Hake were conducted to present the preliminary results of the study “Estimation of underreported catches for the artisanal sector in the common hake fishery”.  The study found that the highest levels of underreported fishing occur in the VI and VII Regions.  Early recommendations were provided during these meetings; for example, conducting a more detailed socioeconomic analysis of all fishing regions, as the economic factor is the main motivator for violations of the rules.  Other recommendations included to strengthen control efforts in the VII Region, which has the highest availability of hake, namely by effectively controlling sailings, discharges and fishing reports/logbooks, as well as the transportation with origin in the region’s fishing communities.

April – June 2016

On April 29th, the Management Plan for Common Hake produced by the Management Committee was approved by SUBPESCA through Resolution N° 1308-2016.  The Management Plan is available here.

Also in April, SONAPESCA and CeDePesca have agreed on the terms of the renewal of the FIP Agreement as well as on the 2016 FIP Action Plan.  Activities include further analyzing the underreporting phenomenon in the IV and VIII Regions, and a stronger effort to attain management changes aimed to minimize this practice in order for the fishery to recover.

In May, fieldwork has continued in fishing communities of the VIII Region in order to gain a better understanding of the fishing activity of the artisanal fleet targeting hake.  A meeting with FIP partners also took place to discuss progress and ways in which the FIP may collaborate with authorities and fishers to achieve better market conditions that encourage the abandonment of underreporting.

On the other hand, CeDePesca met with Mrs. Daniela Caceres, in charge of the Department of Sectorial Economic Studies of SUBPESCA.  The goal of the meeting was to present the results of the FIP’s research on illegal fishing and to create opportunities for collaboration and data sharing between SUBPESCA and CeDePesca.

In June, the Court of Appeals of Valparaíso offered an important support to SERNAPESCA’s surveillance efforts to combat illegal fishing, by deciding to admit pictures taken by drones as evidence in trials.

July –  September 2016

During this quarter, CeDePesca and SUBPESCA have met to discuss the progress of the study for the estimation of underreported catches in the artisanal sector (VIII region) and the process of implementation of the recovery program for the common hake stock. SUBPESCA informed that the Committee for the Management of Hake is discussing issues such as potential mitigation and compensation measures to help reduce fishing effort, as well as potential changes to fishing gear.

In September, the study “Estimation of underreported catches for the artisanal sector in the common hake fishery” was completed by CeDePesca and presented to FIP partners.  The study has concluded that the highest levels of underreported fishing occur in the VI, VII and VIII Chilean Regions.  The minimum underreported catch was estimated at 26 thousand tons. Among the suggested recommendations is the need to revise stock assessments that would have been underestimated, given that the actual removals had exceeded the reported removals for a long period of time, and the models are based on reported values. The presentation of results to representatives of SUBPESCA, IFOP, the Navy, the Internal Revenue Service and SERNAPESCA, among other stakeholders has now started and will continue during the next few months.

October – December2016

In October, CeDePesca participated from a workshop on illegal fishing.  The meeting was attended by the National Director of SERNAPESCA and its Deputy Fisheries Director, as well as by representatives from the Navy, the artisanal fishing and industrial fishing sectors and researchers.  CeDePesca took this opportunity to make public the results of the study on the underreporting of Chilean hake catches, as well as to publicly encourage SERNAPESCA to include within its surveillance plans the monitoring of trade fairs and mobile shops that have been increasing rapidly in number and where an important percentage of illegal products enter the market.

Also in October, CeDePesca held a meeting with SERNAPESCA’s Deputy Fisheries Director, Mr. Jorge Toro, to show him in detail the results from our study on the underreporting of Chilean hake catches in the artisanal sector.  SERNAPESCA invited CeDePesca to collaborate in the organization of a workshop where the 2017 surveillance plan would be drafted with public participation.

On the other hand, CeDePesca participated from the Regional Workshop on FIPs, where the Chilean common hake FIP was used as an example to work on the obstacles and challenges encountered by a FIP and its advances and solutions.  The results from the study on the underreporting of Chilean hake catches in the artisanal sector was also discussed at this meeting, as an example of a challenge that is being addressed by FIP partners.

In late November, a letter was sent to IFOP’s Director and hake researchers, formally recommending the re-assessment of the Chilean hake catch series to be used in future stock assessments, in light of the results from the study on underreporting in the artisanal sector. IFOP answered CeDePesca’s letter in December, formally asking for a copy of the study and mentioning that the situation has been also considered by its researchers, but that in order for any re-assessment to be implemented, the request must come from SUBPESCA.

Also in December, meetings were held in the VII region with members of the Management Committee for Hake who represent the artisanal sector.  At these meetings, CeDePesca presented the results of the study on underreporting, and discussed possible ways of helping fishers to generate additional income to substitute that obtained by overfishing hake.

Also in December, CeDePesca was invited to a hearing by the Fishing Commission of the Deputies Chamber of the Chilean Congress.  The methodology and results from the study on the underreporting of Chilean hake in the artisanal sector was explained to members of Congress at this hearing, and CeDePesca recommended investigating the possible existence of systematic underreporting that would have led to an underestimation of successive population assessments, which in turn could have resulted in a quota system based on an underestimated abundance, thus raising the need for a comprehensive review of the historical catches series and the incorporation of this fishing mortality -that has not been previously considered- into stock assessments.


January – March 2017

In January,CeDePesca held a meeting with SUBPESCA to learn more about the progress that has been made in the Management Committee regarding the implementation of the fishery’s management plan.  SUBPESCA is concerned regarding the allocation of funds for the execution of the Management Plan and hopes the situation is solved soon.

Also in January, CeDePesca met with the head of the Legal Branch of the Internal Revenue Service (SII), Mr. Manuel Navarrete, to share the results from the study on underreporting and to know to what extent is the SII able to participate in the fight against illegal fishing.  Mr. Navarrete informed us that the SII is only able to act upon concrete reports regarding individuals or businesses that are under suspicion of distributing or trading products illegally.

Also in January, CeDePesca met with officials from SERNAPESCA.  During the meeting, CeDePesca shared the results from the study on underreporting and to learn more about SERNAPESCA’s 2017 workplan to combat illegal fishing in the common hake fishery.  Also, SERNAPESCA officials suggested that CeDePesca focuses on encouraging fishing authorities to conduct a socioeconomic diagnostic for this fishery and the improvement of public policies and of the process of coordination of surveillance activities between governmental offices.

In February, CeDePesca met again with SUBPESCA officials to discuss the progress of a plan to diversify theactivities conducted by artisanal fishers as a way to reduce pressure over the common hake fishery.  The Fund for Fishery Management is interested in including diversification activities into the Management Plan for the fishery.  Three strategic lines are being considered:  Added value, tourism, and small scale aquaculture.  The level of interest shown from artisanal leaders regarding the diversification of activities depends on the region they are representing, but the topic is under discussion.  CeDePesca will consider how to collaborate in this effort.

On March 3rd, a letter was sent to the Chairman of the Management Committee to share CeDePesca’s recommendations stemming from the study on underreporting practices in the common hake fishery.  CeDePesca highlighted the need to carry out a re-assessment of the stock -considering illegal removals- as well as a socioeconomic diagnostic for the artisanal fishery at a national level.

Also in March, a meeting was held with the fishers’ union “Nuevo Amanecer” of the fishing community Caleta Portales, who invited CeDePesca to present the results of the study on underreporting in the artisanal sector.  The union leaders present at the meeting committed themselves to sharing the study with other fisher organizations in the V Region.  The fishers expressed their unrest regarding these practices and offered suggestions regarding ways in which fishers could diversify their pool of buyers and achieve better prices that could reduce the need to incur in this bad practice.  Fishers also expressed their concern regarding any potential increase of fishing quotas, and some fishers expressed the long-held idea that the reason for the depletion of the stock is not illegal fishing, but the trawling fishery.  The flouting of this hypothesis shows that there is a strong need to continue disseminating the results of the underreporting study that shows the real scale of this bad practice in the fishery.

Also in March, a draft letter was sent to members of the Management Committee of the VII Region, looking for their support for the recommendations arising from the study on underreporting practices.  The letter would be signed by different leaders and CeDePesca and is to be addressed to the Finance Minister.

On March 29th, Exempt Resolution N° 1108 was issued by the Undersecretariat for Fisheries, extending the Research Program on Discards and Bycatch in the common hake fishery until June 5th, 2017, in order to allow for the discussion of the Plan for the Reduction of Discards in the context of the Management Committee.  The Research Program on Discards and Bycatch started officially on June 5th, 2013.

April – June 2017

In April, a letter was sent to the General Manager of the Free Farmer Markets Confederation (ASOF-C.G.) to share the results from the study on underreporting practices in the Chilean common hake fishery, and to ask for a meeting to discuss possibilities of collaboration.  In June, the meeting was held and ASOF-CG accepted to participate in FIP activities related the fight against illegal fishing and in the promotion of responsible fishing consumption.  A letter of intention has been sent to the Resources Legacy Fund to request financial support for such activities.

In May, a letter was sent to artisanal fishers to express CeDePesca’s opinion on the discussion of a trawling ban and to reiterate our willingness to work with the different sectors in the search for solutions appropriate to the crisis that today faces the common hake fishery.  The letter was also shared with members of the Chilean Congress.

Also in May, a hearing was requested before the Senate’s Commission of Maritime Interests, Fisheries and Aquaculture.  The hearing is requested to present the results of the study “Estimation of underreported catches for the artisanal sector in the common hake fishery” conducted by CeDePesca and to explain our recommendations, especially in relation to the bill which strengthens and modernizes the functions of the National Fisheries Service (SERNAPESCA).  On June 29th, the Senate’s Commission informed CeDePesca that the chamber has agreed to grant the hearing when these issues are discussed.

Back in April, CeDePesca met with SUBPESCA officials to learn more about the progress made for the fishery’s recovery plan and the discards reduction plan.  In June, the research program on discards presented its official results: It is estimated that the industrial fleet showed a progressive decline in its average discards from 20% in 2013 to 10% and 8% in 2014 and 2015, respectively. The main discarded species were jumbo squid (Dosidicus gigas) with amounts between 7% and 3% of the total annual catch, and common hake with amounts between 4% and 3% of the total annual catch.  In the fleet of vessels of less than 1000 hp, discards in 2015 corresponded to 25% of the total catch (99% hake; 1% other species). In the gillnet artisanal fleet, discarding was estimated at between 2% and 7% of total catches, with common hake being the species that was discarded the most.

On June 5th, SUBPESCA approved the plan for the reduction of industrial and artisanal discards in the Chilean hake fishery.  The plan contains management and conservation measures and remarks on the technological means necessary to reduce the discard of the target species and the incidental catch, as well as a monitoring program, a training and outreach program and ways to assess the adopted measures.  The plan is available here.

Also in June, CeDePesca participated in the Seaweb’s Seafood Summit with a panel on how FIPs in Latin America respond to new trends in the market.  One of the cases discussed at the panel was the Chilean common hake FIP.


April – June 2018

In April CeDePesca carried out a digital press publication called «Plan with real data to recover the common hake», stressing the importance of incorporating the data from the sub-report in the management decisions of the common hake, in this respect CeDePesca recommended that the estimates of unreported catch be included in the stock assessments and in the suggestions of total allowable catch. Similarly, it requested that the National Fisheries Service Modernization Law be approved.

In May CeDePesca published an opinion column in the digital magazine Aqua, requesting the approval of the Law for the Modernization of the National Fisheries Service and the incorporation of data from the sub reports in the decision-making of management of common hake, so that recovery occurs in a reasonable time.

In June CeDePesca participated as a sponsor of the celebration of the World Day against Illegal Fishing. Activity carried out in the responsible fishing restaurant Tres Peces in Valparaíso. This activity was part of the International Day against Illegal, Undeclared and Unregulated Fishing declared by the General Assembly of the United Nations.

In June CeDePesca met with Eduardo Riquelme, Undersecretary of Fisheries and Aquaculture, to express the need to advance in improving the situation of the fishery, indicating that estimates of unreported catches are included in stock assessments and in suggestions for total allowable catch. In the same way, it was raised as an urgent need to approve the Law for Modernization of the National Fisheries Service.

In June CeDePesca met in Valparaiso, with Jorge Farías, President of the Common Hake Management Committee, to express the need to advance in improving the situation of the fishery.

In June CeDePesca made a presentation to the Fisheries and Aquaculture Commission of the Chamber of Deputies in the Chilean Congress, to express the need to advance in the improvement of the state of the fishery, stressing that estimates of unreported catch are included in stock assessments and the urgent need to approve the Law for Modernization of the National Fisheries Service.

July – September 2018

In July CeDePesca elaborated a document Proposal with four points to improve the state of the fishery prepared by CeDePesca and disseminated among other NGOs, artisanal and industrial fishermen:

1.- That the fisheries administration use the scenario that considers in the evaluation of the stock the removals by unreported fishing, which would reflect the real situation of the resource and admits the allocation of a larger global catch quota, according to reality;

2.- It is essential to strengthen the National Fisheries Service to minimize the sub-report and ensure the real reduction of fishing mortality. This strengthening is a necessary condition for the implementation of any increase in the global catch quota;

3.- That, for a reasonable period of time or until the biomass exceeds a certain threshold to be agreed, the industrial sector transfers without cost to the artisanal sector its percentage increase in the global quota. This gesture would allow the recalculation of quotas to function as a real incentive for those artisanal fishermen who certify all their catches;

4.- That the certifications of the landings for the artisanal sector be carried out by SERNAPESCA at no cost to these fishermen.

October – December 2018

In October CeDePesca organized in the city of Valparaíso the Seminar called «Towards the sustainability of the common hake, stock recovery proposals» in which Dante Queirolo, researcher and member of the Scientific Committee, Jorge Farías, sectorialist of the Undersecretary of Fishing and member of the Management Committee of common hake, Valeska Montes de WWF and Ernesto Godelman President of CeDePesca participated as exhibitors. They all shared their ideas for improvements with the attending public made up of government representatives, artisanal fishermen, industry representatives and other NGOs.

In November, the 2019 quota for common hake was published, which was increased by 21% with respect to the 2018 quota. In 2017 and 2018 the quota was 25.000 tons, while in 2019 it increased by 5.279 tons to reach 30.027 tons.


January – February 2019

In January, the Law to Modernize and Strengthen the Public Function of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (SERNAPESCA) was published in the Official Dairy. Its purpose is to strengthen the powers and tools to control and combat illegal fishing, establishing new obligations for fishing agents, as well as new infractional figures to sanction behaviors that threaten the sustainability of fishing resources, especially in the post-harvest stages, such as processing, processing, storage, and commercialization.