Cermaq overproduced roughly 800 tons of Atlantic salmon than allowed in one of its sites in Chile, prompting the country’s environmental watchdog to initiate sanction proceedings.
According to the environment agency Superintendencia del Medio Ambiente (SMA), the infraction is considered a “serious offence” because Cermaq’s farm is within the Kawésqar National Reserve, a protected wildlife area.
Regulations allow a maximum production of 5,236 tons over an area measuring 12 hectares in protected jurisdictions.
“The complaints received by the SMA are not only from citizens, but also from public services with environmental competence. In this case, Sernapesca Magallanes sent us the information regarding the 2017-2019 production cycle, and the Department of Sanctions and Compliance was able to appreciate a hypothesis of overproduction, which involves exceeding the maximum authorized by the environmental permit by almost 800 tons,” environment official Emanuel Ibarra was quoted as saying by news outlet Mundo Aquicola.
A serious infraction may be subject to revocation of the company’s RCA – a document awarded to companies after passing an environmental impact assessment. Alternatively, it could be subjected to pay a fine or it could face closure.
Cermaq will have a period of 10 business days (from the time it was notified about the start of sanction proceedings) to present a compliance program and 15 business days to formulate its disclaimers.
Earlier, Chilean President Gabriel Boric made known his intention to modify Chile’s aquaculture regulations to make farming more sustainable but at the same time give investors more confidence about investing in the country. He is also mulling to exclude the cultivation of non-native species – which includes Atlantic salmon – in protected areas.