Chile loses thousands of salmon and trout to algal blooms

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Coho salmon and trout in Chile have perished prematurely in their thousands, in what appears to be a mass mortality episode .

The incidents have been centred around the Los Lagos region, with the latest reports suggesting that more than 500 tons of fish have already perished, representing around 2% of the total biomass in the area.

However, the authorities have yet to give an official figure on the number of deaths.

Early reports from Chile first suggested that at least 13 salmon farms in the Reloncavi estuary area had reported the activation of the contingency plan for harmful algal blooms (HABs), after which seven of these also activated their contingency plan for mass mortality associated with the presence of microalgae. Later, the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service, Sernapesca, updated this information. According to the figures Sernapesca provided, a total of 486.4 tons of coho and trout have died, which is the equivalent of  1.62% of the total biomass of the area affected by the harmful algae problem which amounts to 30,000 tons.

Since then, however, estimates suggest the figure has now reached 1,100 tons.

Sernapesca also announced that the two farms affected with massive mortality belong to the companies Trusal (Salmones Austral) and Caleta Bay.

The  salmon farming centres maintain the contingency plans activated by harmful algal blooms  are nine, of which six are also include contingency plans for mass mortality, and there are still only two farms that are in this condition according to the analysis carried out.

Sernapesca has  also authorised the harvesting of salmonids at those centres  with the highest mortality and is currently in the process of harvesting live fish.

 

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