The Chilean fisheries products represent 12% of the total national exports, reaching a total value of US$1 800 millions in 1996. The sector involves 200 000 workers direct and indirectly.
Pelagic resources (mainly horse mackerel, anchovy and sardine) are heavily exploited and used as the main raw material for fishmeal which contributes with 73% of the total fish exportation. Total catches of those species were up to 6 281 337 MT in 1996.
The second most important species is hake, with catch in 1996, amounting almost 340 300 t.
The Chilean government has given a high priority to the fisheries and aquaculture sector in the national economic development.
Created in 1978, the Under-Secretariat of Fisheries is the organization that regulates fisheries. It reports to the Ministry of Economy, Development and Reconstruction.
The main Chilean institutions carrying out fishery research include public and private bodies:
- The Fisheries Development Institute (IFOP), is a non-profit technological institute controlled by the Agency for Economic Development (CORFO), which in turn is controlled by the Ministry of Economy. Created in 1965, it has a long tradition in research and development. Its main objective is to carry out scientific and technological research oriented to the exploitation and prospection of fisheries resources and fish stock assessment in juridictional waters. It also seeks, among other, to create methods and technologies for the fishing industry and to develop new systems in aquaculture. In the economic area it analyzes and prepares projects for production and modernization in the fisheries industry.
- The National Fisheries Service (SERNAPESCA) is a public organization created in 1978 wich is responsible for executing national fisheries policy, for supervising its enforcement and and for ensuring proper application of the legal rules and regulations on fishing.
In the private sector, the main agency involved in research and development is "Fundacion Chile". It was created in 1976 through an agreement between the Chilean government and ITT Corporation of the United States. It seeks to facilitate technological transfer for the improvement of the natural resources productivity and exploitation.
There are several universities and other technical institutions mainly dedicated to training and education.
Table 2 - Organigramme of the Chilean Public Fisheries Sector
Ministry of Economy, Development and Reconstruction
Under-Secretary of Fisheries
Agency for Economic Development CORFO
National Fisheries Service; Technology Institutes
Institute of Fisheries Development, IFOP
Other Technology Institute
The main national professional association is the "Asociaci6n gremial de profesionales pesqueros", grouping engineers, technicians and other professional categories. The objective of the association is mainly to analyze and to discuss fishery policies on a regular basis, providing government authorities with technical and professional advice.
There are also specific professional associations of fish producers providing assistance to their members with advisory services in all fields, including technology, as well as training through courses, seminars or lectures.
The research policy in Chile is based on the National Policy of Science and Technology. Its basic general principles are:
- to improve Chile's competitiveness and productivity and the national standard of living through science, technology and innovation development.
- to enhance both the number and the capabilities of national professionals and technicians.
- to involve progressively private companies in the funding and in the use of scientific and tchnological developments.
- to create the conditions for the contribution of science and technology to the sustainable development of the country.
- to strengthen democracy by increasing the availability of information.
Therefore in the field of fishing technology priority is given to the improvement of the industry competitiveness and productivity in global markets through the sustainable use of fishery resources. The objectives of this policy is better use of existing infrastructure and technological innovation to improve and diversify production in order to include more added value in fishery products,
In the last 6-7 years, the old mechanisms for funding research were improved and several others were created with a large emphasis on socioeconomics aspects. Research has been forced to meet national policies and subjected to strict evaluation regarding technical and socioeconomic viability and projects strategies.
Basically, the old mechanisms for funding technological research have been replaced by a new system based on the research needs of the industry.
The main available funds come from:
- Fund for Promotion of Scientific and Technological Development (FONDEF),
- National Fund for Technological and Productive Development (FONTEC);
- Fund for Development and Innovation (FDI),
- Fund for Fishing Research(FIP), which is exclusively for the fishery sector.
Except FIP, all funds are managed by the Chilean Agency for Economic Development (CORFO) through its executive council. CORFO is the specialized agency for the promotion of the production. It works through subsidies that contribute to innovation and technological changes in areas of strategical impact in the economic and social development of the country.
All of these funds were created by the Chilean government in order to promote scientific and technological development. They are available to universities and other non-profit scientific and technological institutions.
The common objectives of these funds are the increase of Chilean industry competitiveness in the global markets by encouraging national scientific and technological development and by applying the results to the needs of Chilean companies in the private and in the public sectors.
These schemes include projects which incorporate scientific and technological activities as an important component of their work and obtain prototype results which can be transferred to the productive sector. They also include the development of innovative technological processes or the adaptation of new technologies relevant to the country's industries.
Other projects include the creation and the installation of infrastructure to improve technological research and development know-how in specialized services.
Research proposals by universities or research institutes must show that the result of their projects will have an effective industrial use and result in gains of productivity, creation of new jobs or an increase in exports. Companies must finance part of the project to ensure that the research will be used on an industrial basis. Firms can finance part of the project directly or allow researchers to use company infrastructure, raw material or workforce. Companies must sign a contract detailing their commitment as a condition for applying to the fund.
The approved projects must have an economic evaluation under conditions of uncertainty with a cost-benefit analysis and socioeconomic revenue of at least 12%.
During 1995 the Chilean government has set up the "Programme of Technological Innovation" (FDI) based on the important role of the state as catalyst of private action to reach an advanced stage of national development (FDI has invested 3.861 million Chilean Pesos in 1995 and 5.300 million Chilean Pesos are foreseen in 1997) ($1 US = Chilean Pesos 415).
Co-funding of research projects by private industries of the fishing sector has grown between 1995-1996 in FDI programme from 15% to 33%. It is the main funding source of fisheries research in technology and quality aspects in the fishery industry and aquaculture.
CORFO uses the results of the research to identify new areas where investment is needed. It focuses on the funding of the creation of new products or business with socioeconomic impacts.
CORFO promotes extensively the results of the FDI, FONTEC and FONDEF projects to companies through shows and publics expositions. The objective is to stimulate the private companies in co-funding the research projects and to invite them to use this fund for solving their own requirements of technological development.
Fishery Research Fund (FIP), depending on the Ministry of Economy, is the only fund aimed to finance research on conservation of marine resources. This fund is used for researches in fisheries or in aquaculture in order to provide the information needed by Government authorities for the setting of administrative measures regarding the conservation of marine biological resources and ecosystems. The results of the FIP projects are generally used by fisheries authorities rather than the private sector.
Relationship between research and the fishery industry
As we have seen, the current system for funding fishery research considers the participation of the industry in the generation of ideas and its active involvement in the project as essential. As a result, researchers are obliged to keep a constant relationship with the industry in order to identify opportunities to solve technological problems and to be aware of the industry needs.
The system obliges researchers to make sure they are well informed about international trends in the fishery industry and in aquaculture, about the markets of fish and fishery products, about new technologies or about consumption and sanitary rules. The researchers then have to compete among them and sell their ideas to companies in order to develop research projects.
The assignment of funds to research are decided by committees including producers, renowned researchers, lawyers and economists.
Funding of research programmes by private industry
Today the most usual way of funding research programmes by private industry is through joint projects with state technology institutes or with universities.
Besides FDI and FIP funds, one of the first initiatives in Chile to promote technological innovation specially to be used by Chilean companies was the National Fund for Technological and Productive Development (FONTEC). It provides preferential funding to small and medium-sized companies working in strategic sectors of high national interest.
Relationship between research and the fishery administration
Research results from the FIP form the basis of regulations developed by the administration. Also involved in the process are the National Fishing Council integrated by the Under-secretary of Fisheries, the National Oceanographic Council, experts in the fishing field (including 2 from the university sector), and representatives of producers'associations.
Each year, the Zonal and Regional Fisheries Councils give their suggestions for the annual programme of fishery and aquaculture research, including their priorities. With this information the Under-secretary proposes the annual programme of Fishery Research to the National Fishery Council which gives the final approval to the priorities.
Research is sometimes constrained by funding. Importance is given to eonomic utility when competing research proposals are evaluated. It is not considered desirable for the State to maintain large and expensive research infrastructure, so joint public-private co-operation in research is very important
Publications for extension to fishery industry
"Chile Pesquero"is a specialized magazine 20 years old, published every two months. It is the fisheries and fish farming magazine oriented to business, technology and economics for Chilean and Peruvian fisheries industries. Its editorial line is mainly based on pelagic fishing for fishmeal and fish oil (including processing, investments, shipbuilding, fishing gears, and fishing technology), fish farming (mainly salmon but also other Chilean profitable farming activities); fisheries for human consumption, sectorial economics and statistics.
A direct consequence of the national development policies in the fisheries field was the great emphasis placed in the aquaculture. More than 60% of the total funds invested in fishery research projects in 1996 were for aquaculture development, compared with 29.5%assigned to projects regarding quality and technology.
In the field of fishing gears, there is only one record of research project in the last years, the 'pre-feasibility study of crustaceans artisanal trap fishing".
This project was funded by FIP in 1995 up to 23 million Chilean Pesos but it was not extended in the following years. It was run in Chile's 5th Region (Vaiparaiso-San Antonio) from October 1995 to June 1996. Its objective was to evaluate the technical and the economical feasibility of the utilization of traps on artisanal boats in order to catch shrimps (Heterocarpus reedi) and langostinos (Cervimunidajohni).
The project included:
- the design and construction of traps
- the mobilization of a 16.8 meters boat equipped with echo-sounder and line hauler
- 2 months of experimental operations (to test the traps)
- 3 months of exploratory operations (to evaluate the resource)
Detailed results and evaluations of this research project are not available.
As for potential international cooperation, in addition to aspects concerning quality of fish products, it is worth mentioning that international cooperation will be necessary in relation to "eco-labeling" and environmental considerations during fish processing, e.g "clean technologies".