Yesterday the Chilean Chamber of Deputies approved the annulment of the Fisheries Law. It now passes to the Senate to complete its final legislative process. Votes in favour 117 and 20 abstentions.

Hernán Cortés, President of the Consejo Nacional de Defensa del Patrimonio Pesquero A.G. (CONDEPP) said that “this bill represents the citizens’ desire to put an end to the privileges and abuses of this law that is the symbol of corruption. This Congress will put an end to the privileges that the fishing industry bought at the time: The unfair division of 70% of fishing for the industry; illegal drilling and permits for industrialists to enter the exclusive zone of artisanal fisheries; allows trawling that irreparably damages marine ecosystems; Perpetuity as the law gives the sea to the industry for 20 years renewable in perpetuity, keeping the sector closed to other actors”.

Cortés finally points out: “We expect the Senate to commit to eliminate corruption once and for all. Repealing the Fisheries Law is the right direction.

For his part, Humanist MP Tomás Hirsch, in his speech on the floor, said:

“I hope that today we finally repeal a corrupt law created by corrupt people to benefit the corrupt. The misnamed fisheries law. This law has a name: the Longueira Law. The same UDI militant who was disqualified from voting for being accused of receiving irregular financing. On November 19, 2020 the Servel disqualified him from voting. The decision was taken in the run-up to the oral trial of the SQM case, where Longueira faced charges of bribery and tax crimes in the nature of consummated and reiterated.

A law created at the point of kickbacks and bribery, created to favour the interests of a small group of friends of this Minister. A law that is the clearest example of the worst of the indecent relationship between politicians and businessmen, although these crooks should not be called businessmen.

A law that gave the sea of Chile to 7 families. And it also gave it to them in perpetuity.

President. We are supposed to come to this Congress to create laws that improve the lives of Chilean men and women. And it is incredible, but instead of that, today we have to dedicate ourselves to recovering what has been stolen from all Chileans.

I remember back in 2019, when we began to discuss the annulment of this corrupt law in the Constitution Committee, it was shocking to hear those who continued to defend it. Defending a shameful robbery. And above all those who, with pseudo-legal trickery, tried to convince us that it was not possible to repeal it because that option did not exist in Chilean legislation. And they will be repealing it, and some are still proposing it, knowing full well that this would mean compensating the fishing industry. In other words, we would have had to give them millions of dollars in addition to what they had already stolen. It would be the last straw if we also had to pay the thieves.

How can you not annul something that was created with kickbacks, bribery, with managers dictating paragraphs and clauses to ministers! Fortunately, we were able to make progress and demonstrate that it was possible to annul a law, and finally, on 24 November 2020, the annulment was approved in this chamber by 81 votes to 46. However, it is equally shocking that 46 deputies of the time preferred to keep in force a monstrosity created by cheating and corruption.

Is there anyone who still dares to defend this real assault on all Chileans? Some people are crying foul about the current level of crime, but they say nothing about the crime with collars and ties, which is planned and generated from elegant business and ministerial offices.

Today we will reclaim the sea. We will recover it for the benefit of all Chilean men and women. We will recover the sea for small-scale fishermen. We will recover it because that is to recover part of the Dignity that was taken away from us. We will still have to recover the lithium that was given to Pinochet’s son-in-law and the water that agro-industrialists steal at the expense of the communities.

But today the sea will once again belong to all Chileans. An end to the corrupt fishing law!”