Chile's Seafaring Oligopoly Threatens Artisan Fisheries

The icy waters of the South Pacific have moved center stage in a debate over how to manage fisheries once thought inexhaustible.

For decades the commercial fishing industry has systematically decimated fish populations.

Last December, Chile's government passed a controversial fisheries law that included dubious conservation measures, while awarding the largest share of the most lucrative fisheries—including jack mackerel and hake—to four national conglomerates.

Independent fishermen, known as artisans, say the law turns the country’s marine resources into a private oligopoly—a nautical version of Latin America's epic land inequality.