Chilean senator Rabindranath Quinteros summoned the economy minister to explain the thought process behind the new rules that have been criticized by industry players.
The rule changes that have been promulgated as law by the economy ministry bypassed congress, newspaper El Mercurio reported.
The government said it adopted what it considered minor changes to rules governing the salmon sector to avoid a lengthy approval in parliament. Quinteros said he is interested in building a better legislative framework to promote investment. He added that he shares the concern of the fishing sub-secretary, Raul Sunico, that the new rules are only focused on cost cutting in the industry.
The new legislation has been widely criticized in the industry. Norway’s Marine Harvest, for years the largest salmon farmer in Chile, left producer association SalmonChile in protest over its participation in talks with the government in setting the new legislation.
Marine Harvest appealed to the government earlier this year to rethink the country’s entire salmon concessions system, emulating systems successfully adopted in Norway and other producer nations, and making environment standards more stringent.
Quinteros said the recent rules were “insufficient” to address the challenges faced by the salmon industry this year. Salmon companies in Chile have cut thousands of workers after facing devastating losses through an outbreak of algal bloom in March and a fishermen’s strike in May that cut them off from their main markets for more than three weeks.