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The National Aquaculture registry and the relevance of entering the environmental impact assessment system

07 May 2020

Introduction

On April 23, 2020, the National Comptroller of the Republic (“CGR”) addressed, the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (“SERNAPESCA”), inquiring if it is appropriate to require, holders of aquaculture projects which do not need  an aquaculture concession or authorization,  prior to its registration in the National Registry of Aquaculture (“RNA”), to present the response to the query regarding the relevance of entry to the Environmental Impact Assessment System (“SEIA”), of its respective project, so that this inscription is valid and unequivocal.

SERNAPESCA states that this entity does not require, as a prerequisite and / or enabler, the letter of relevance or consultation on entry to the SEIA for the respective sectoral permits which grant and understand that such request has been delivered as a request of the titular person.

In its report, the Environmental Assessment Service (“SEA”), once again states that it is not appropriate to subordinate the granting of a sector authorization to the response of a query of relevance to enter the SEIA, since the resolution that is pronounced on a pertinent consultation does not provide certainty that the project in question can be carried out without previously submitting to the  procedure, since may vary due to new backgrounds or conclusions of the Environment Superintendence ( “SMA”), standards with which the latter agrees.

CGR concludes that of the applicable regulations (General Law of Fishing and Aquaculture, Regulation of Concessions and Authorizations of Aquaculture, Regulation of Registration in the RNA), the consultation of relevance or its response is not a legal or regulatory requirement provided by the legal system for the purposes of registration in the RNA of those projects indicated, but constitutes a voluntary process, which allows the holders, of those to contact the Executive Director and regional directors of the SEA, as appropriate, in order to request an opinion, based on the background provided for this purpose if a project or activity, or its modification, must be submitted to the SEIA (criteria contained in opinions 7,620, 2013 and 25,269, 2014 apply).

Therefore, the pronouncement issued by the SEA is framed within the statements of judgment completed by the Administration in the exercise of their powers, by means of how  they express their point of view on the matter on which an opinion has been requested, without such an instrument being binding since its response does not preclude from subsequently modifying it in the event that the accompanying documents do not conform to reality (criteria applies, contained in opinions 7,620, of 2013 and 463 of 2015).

Contact

In case you require additional information on this matter,  please contact: Marcelo Mardones, mmardones@jdf.cl; Martín Esser, messer@jdf.cl