Southern Chile hit by new toxic algal outbreak

Blumar Seafoods salmon farm and barge, Chile

Salmon farmers in the south of Chile are battling against another large toxic algal bloom which has already cost the sector thousands of tonnes in lost fish in the past few weeks.

Losses are already approaching 3,000 tonnes in Atlantic and Coho salmon. So far, farms run by AquaChile and Blumar (pictured) seem to be the hardest hit.

Blumar has said it is actively responding to the outbreak at its Victoria production site which has around 850,00 salmon weighing an average of 4 kg. Specialist diving teams have been sent to the area.

Chile’s aquaculture supervisory body Sernapesca has described mortality levels in the Reloncaví Estuary as “massive” but says it is working hard to address the situation.

The National Director of Sernapesca, Soledad Tapia, indicated that “this event has allowed us to put into practice the associated work plans, which we have prepared in recent months” with the various technical organisations.

He added: “We have corroborated this in our audits by checking that the logistics of removing mortalities have been carried out according to plan.

“If we compare it with contingencies from previous years, the co-ordination (this time) has been more efficient, given the fulfilment of plans, the movement of vessels associated with the removal of mortalities and their treatment.

“However, we must be cautious and continue improving the procedure, to be prepared for larger events that could eventually occur.”

Sernapesca says that although the outbreak has affected nine cultivation centres, 60% of the recorded mortalities are so far concentrated in just one concession.

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