MARINE Harvest has decided from next September to cease its fish farming operations on Lake Llanquihue, in Chile.
The decision was made after an extra-judicial settlement between the fish farmer and local residents, but is part of the company’s production strategy and part of its commitment to sustainability and working with local communities, reports FIS.
A report by the Undersecretariat of Fisheries and Aquaculture (SUBPESCA) submitted during the judicial process had demonstrated that that Marine Harvest had not committed the violations required for its licence to be revoked.
However, the company made the decision to pull out of operations in the Los Lagos region as part of the company’s long-term strategy in Chile.
‘To us it is important to maintain a good relationship with the communities in which our company operates’, said Marine Harvest general manager, Roberto Riethmüller.
‘This was a conflict that had been kept for a long time and we feel it was necessary to sit at the table and talk.
‘I think we have achieved a positive agreement, which allows us to move around and drive improvements to our processes and, at the same time, strengthen trust with the entire community.
‘To Marine Harvest it is essential to generate a sustainable industrial activity under the highest quality standards and comply with all current health regulations.’
The roots of the problem stretch back eight years, when residents of Rincones Bay complained about pollution in Lake Llanquihue.
In 2007 a complaint was filed against Marine Harvest claiming that it had violated the General Fisheries Act by contaminating the lake.
According to reports issued in March by the newspaper La Segunda, in the early 80s, the locals said the lake water was so clean you could drink it.
The company was also fined $320,000 by the Supreme Court for breach of health regulations.