Marine Harvest Chile given 30 days to recover escaped fish

Under Chilean law, company has set number days to recover the salmon. Within that period, it must recapture at least 10 percent or “environmental damage is assumed” says National Fisheries Service (SERNAPESCA).

A storm on July 6 damaged nine enclosures at Marine Harvest’s Punta Redonda Center near the southern city of Calbuco, freeing at least 600,000 salmon into the wild, one of the biggest escapes ever in the industry.

Chilean fishermen have been working around the clock to recover hundreds of thousands of salmon. To date 280,000 of the fish have been rescued and have been transferred to a nearby facility. Local fisherman captured the extra 30,000.

“We are monitoring all recapture efforts, ensuring that these fish are taken to a fishmeal plant because obviously they cannot be considered for direct (human) consumption,” Ruth Alarcon, deputy director of aquaculture at the government’s national fisheries service, told Reuters.

The Chilean government has also given the company 10 days to provide more information about how the escape occurred as well as time to give a contingency plan for monitoring the drugs administered to the salmon.

The incomplete course of an antibiotic, Florfenicol, which was injected into some of escaped salmon could risk inducing AMR (Antimicrobial resistance) is prompting huge environmental concerns.

A group of researchers from zoological department of UdeC (Universidad De Concepcion, Chile) called Invasal (Núcleo del Milenio de Salmónidos Invasores) will study the impact of the escaped fish.

Marine Harvest general manager Fernando Villarroel said the company was randomly testing samples from the reclaimed salmon at a laboratory.


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