4,244 tonnes of farmed salmon victims of killer algae

New episode of massive salmon mortality in Chile, the world’s second largest producer: some 4,244 tonnes of fish were victims of killer algae on 18 farms in the south of the country, the Chilean National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service reported Thursday (April 8) ( Sernapesca). This mortality is the consequence of the proliferation of harmful algal blooms (HAB), a phenomenon which causes a reduction of oxygen in the water and therefore death by asphyxiation of the salmon.

This phenomenon of large algae proliferation causing slaughter of salmon had already occurred in 2016 in Chile, the second largest producer after Norway with around 26% of the world supply. Greenpeace says the current episode is entirely attributable to pollution produced by salmon farming and not climate change, as the environmental NGO claims the industry.

“With the repetition of this type of crisis, the influence of the pollution produced by salmon farming is undeniable. There is evidence that the presence of ammonium and urea from salmon farming in closed or uncrowded fjords can exacerbate species blooms. (seaweed) detected ”, said Maurico Ceballos, spokesperson for Greenpeace.

La microalgue «H. Akashiwo» was detected in the six affected salmon farms in the Los Lagos region, and “Leptocylindrus danicus” and “Leptocylindrus minimus” in the twelve farms in the Aysén region, Sernapesca said in a statement. These 4,244 tonnes equivalent “2.7% of the total active biomass of the affected areas”, where 70% of the dead salmon were removed from the huge parks in which they are raised. In 2020, salmon exports brought in $ 4.4 billion (€ 3.7 billion) to Chile, down 14.6% from the previous year, according to data from the Salmon Council .

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