Chile rejects new constitution that threatened salmon farming

editorial staff

With 99% of the votes counted, 61.9% of voters have rejected Chile’s new constitution, while only 38.1% supported it, in a blow to the country’s president, Gabriel Boric.

Boric had hoped to replace a 41-year old constitution that had been imposed by dictator Augusto Pinochet. Accepting the result, Boric admitted that voters “were not satisfied with the constitutional proposal that the convention presented to Chile.”

However, Boric is not giving up his hopes to change the constitution, stating that the result shows leaders must “work with more determination, more dialogue, more respect” to come up with a new charter that “unites us as a country.”

The proposed constitution had sparked fears among the salmon sector, which has come under fire during Boric’s time in office. SalmonChile had raised concerns about wording within in the document that could lead to the possible closure of protected areas to the salmon farming industry. Around 30 percent of Chile’s farmed salmon production comes from sites within protected areas.

SalmonChile’s President Arturo Clement was worried that the new constitution had “a worrying bias with an extremely environmental focus” that put the operation of the fish farming sector at risk.

Furthermore, Clement was concerned that the proposed constitution was too ambiguous in parts, leaving questions over the future of the industry. “What we are looking for are clear and long-term public policies because this is a long-term industry. As such, to the extent that there is little clarity, the salmon sector may face complexities in the future,” he added.

Despite the rejection of the new constitution giving the salmon sector in Chile a temporary reprieve, Boric has been clear that he will move to change the nation’s fishing laws and environmental protections in protected areas, potentially imposing a moratorium on the farmed salmon industry that would prevent further expansion.

Salmon is Chile’s second biggest export by value. In 2021, Chilean shipments of salmon and trout totalled $5.2 billion, a 18.2 percent year on year value increase from 2020.




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