Chile's senate approved a proposed new fisheries law Thursday amid opposition criticism that it would award fishing concessions to just a few families, AFP reports.
Aside from regulating fishing licenses, the controversial measure also would set new fishing quotas and requires the use of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) on boats.
In the run-up to the vote, hundreds of demonstrators marched in Santiago in opposition to the law.
With more than 4,000 kilometers of coastline (2,485 miles), the South American country is a leading producer of fish.
Opposition politicians have threatened to take the legislation to the country's constitutional court on the grounds that it violates the principle of equality before the law.
"With this fisheries law, we have lost a historic opportunity to create a law that benefits the entire country and not just a few," said Isabel Allende, a socialist senator.
The measure now goes to the House of Representatives.