Michelle Bachelet, the President of Chile, reaffirmed her country’s commitment to protecting the marine environment while speaking at a meeting on ocean conservation issues during the annual gathering of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
“Our commitment to the prosperity and well-being of our citizens cannot be disassociated with economic growth,” she said. “But for the same reason, we must accept, once and for all, that long-term growth is not possible, nor is it true development, without an active policy of environmental protection.”
We couldn’t agree more with the President that long term growth is not possible without the protection of the environment. We also believe that working hand in hand with fishermen is critical to building sustainable fisheries, and that economic prosperity is achievable even alongside environmental protections.
That’s why we are excited and inspired to see that President Bachelet invited Julio Chamorro, a lobster fishermen from Juan Fernandez to attend the meeting of the UN General Assembly and present on the importance of marine protected areas and sustainable fishing.
In Chile, EDF is engaging with local partners and fishing communities to help ensure that Chile’s fishing legacy is protected for future generations.
Julio is part of a Small Scale Fisheries Learning Network we established in Chile with the goal of analyzing problems related to near-shore artisanal fisheries, and finding solutions. These networks aim to boost collective action of communities by uniting them and encouraging collaboration between participants from different backgrounds who might not otherwise have the opportunity to work together.
The Learning Network has prioritized several projects, including the prevention of illegal fishing, low-cost data collection on fishery health, including participatory processes for data collection and monitoring, as well as effective co-management of resources and supply chain management and market-access.
EDF is committed to working with our partners, like Julio, to strengthen this network over the coming years, bringing together stakeholders (both virtually and in-person) to solve problems and overcome the challenges identified for Chile’s near-shore artisanal fisheries.
Sustainable fishing clearly continues to be a priority for Chile, as they work to ensure a thriving future for their communities and fish populations. We’re proud to see such a true and humble leader like Julio sharing his perspective and experience on the global stage to represent the hard work that Chilean fishermen are doing to ensure a bright future. Working with fishermen like Julio brings us great joy and honor. We look forward to the next transformative steps we can take together in Chile, in partnership with both fishermen and the government.
By Erica Cunningham
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