Sea environmental collective warns against “Chilean zombie salmon” in Argentina

Stian Olsen

Greenpeace and 22 NGOs (non-governmental organisations) have hit out at plans at fish farming in Argentina, and singled out the Norwegian-Argentinian cooperation as constituting a threat that could enable these plans to be realised.

In May SalmonBusiness reported on the Norwegian royal couple’s State visit to Argentina, where delegations from Norway and Argentina signed an agreement of cooperation to study the potential for salmon farming in the South American country.

The plan is to establish fish farms in Santa Cruz Province in the southern reaches of the country, and in the Beagle Channel, which passes through the Tierra del Fuego archipelago on the southern tip of South America.

According to sources close to the process, the Chilean industrial organisation SalmonChile is contributing to the possible creation of the aquaculture industry in Argentina, through among other ways sharing expertise and experience.

It is precisely the fact that Argentina is looking to learn from Chile that has caused Greenpeace and 22 other NGOs to react, reported the Chilean newspaper El Ciudadano.

Will cause regret for time immemorial
The organisations gathered recently for “The Forum for the preservation of the Patagonian Sea”, which wishes to safeguard the stretches of sea in the southern reaches of the Patagonian region. Tierra del Fuego, which has been earmarked for marine farming, is also located in this region.

The cooperation has resulted in the preparation of a report, which warns against the consequences of marine farming in Argentina, and refers to experiences from Chilean salmon production. It warns in particular against employing what is referred to as “the Chilean model”, and also against the introduction of new species to the Patagonian region.

Claudio Campagna, the chairman of the forum stated:

“Based on available scientific and technical information, the farming of introduced species in an eco-system so rich and fragile as the Patagonian Sea, would amount to a historic blunder that we will regret for time immemorial”.

“Zombie salmon”
Chile’s high consumption of antibiotics was highlighted as the worst offender, and according to the report is the reason for the Chilean salmon being called the “Zombie salmon”.

“Chilean salmon production with its environmental, health, social and economic consequences, surely is an apt illustration of an activity that works contrary to the goal of sustainable development. Argentina now has time to assess how dreadful this industry would be for the sustainable development of Patagonia,” said Estefanía González, coordinator for Oceans Greenpeace.

The agreement of cooperation between the Norwegian and Argentinian delegations that was signed this spring, is considered to be and is mentioned as a threat that could result in salmon farming in Argentina becoming a reality.

“For the time being, negotiations have been limited to the authorities in Argentina and Norway. As far as I know, no private interests or companies have participated in these talks,” said Estefanía González.


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