The losses suffered in a recent algae attack are far higher than first feared for Salmones Camanchaca, Chile’s largest salmon farmer.
After being hit by further algae-based mortalities, the company issued an update late on Sunday night saying it had lost 1.3 million fish which is likely to cost it more than $4m.
In a statement published on Oslo’s Euronext website, Salmones Camanchaca, said: “The toxic algal bloom in the Comau Fjord, Los Lagos Region (of) Chile affecting the Leptepu, Porcelana and Loncochalgua farming sites, has caused to date an
accumulated mortality of 1.3 million fish, equivalent to 2,250 tons of biomass, with weights between 450 grams and 2.5Kg depending on the affected site, making an average weight of 1.2Kg.
“This mortality corresponds to 11% of the company’s total fish.”
The previous loss estimate when the original algae attack was first reported in mid-March was 162,000 fish or 2.9% of biomass.
The statement adds: “Based on the information available at this time, it is estimated that the event in the Comau Fjord will generate a direct financial loss of $4.4m (£3.17m), net of estimated insurance claim, which has been activated, and of which deductibles have already been fully applied to this calculation… 2021 harvest volume estimates are reduced to a range of 41,000 to 44,000 tonnes whole fish equivalent (WFE) of Atlantic salmon.”
The collection of dead fish will continue to be carried out normally and in accordance with current contingency plans, the company said, and the surviving fish are being transferred to sites outside the Comau Fjord, which is expected to be completed soon,” it concludes.
Algal blooms are a natural phenomenon and notoriously difficult to control or predict. They suck up oxygen in the water, suffocating fish contained in farm cages.
Salmones Camanchaca S.A. is a vertically and fully integrated salmon producer, harvesting 53,000 tonnes (WFE) last year from its core Atlantic salmon business.
It said it expects that figure to rise to 60,000 tonnes by 2023 and has recently expanded into farming Pacific salmon.