Chile’s Kawésqar people win aquaculture case


Salmon farming has pushed ever-farther down Chile’s Patagonian coast to Magallanes, the country’s southernmost region. (Photos courtesy of AIDA)

The indigenous Kawésqar people of Chile, who for centuries inhabited and traveled among islands in Pacific waters near South America’s southern tip, are battling a US$24 million aquaculture project in Magallanes, the country’s southernmost region. Chile’s Supreme Court in February overturned approvals for a project by the Chilean company Sealand Aquaculture to build a facility at Lake Balmaceda, 2,800 kilometers (1,740 miles) south of Santiago, where it would produce smolts for salmon farms. The court did so on grounds that the Kawésqar had not been consulted about the project as required by law. The high court was acting on a complaint filed by the Kawésqar, who were supported in the suit by three green-advocacy groups—the Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA), Greenpeace and FIMA, a Chilean nonprofit. These and other conservation organizations argue Chile’s salmon-farming industry is moving into the southern Patagonian region of Magallanes, where... [Log in to read more]

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