New York Times Says Chile's Salmon Industry Unsustainable

Chile’s Atlantic salmon industry lost half its fish and left 26,000 workers without a job. Four years later in Puerto Montt, 5000 people are still unemployed.

Imagen de Katie Manning
2,536 Lecturas
03 de Agosto, 2011 14:08
Photo By: Sam Beebe / Ecotrust (on Flickr)

On Sunday the New York Times dedicated an editorial to the Chilean export that enchants health nuts across the United States: salmon. The thousands of Chileans, still out of work in Puerto Montt after a salmon disease outbreak in 2007, are less enraptured with the industry.

“About that Salmon” claims that the salmon farming practices in Chile are unsustainable. They point the finger at Norway, as being blameworthy for sending eggs infected with a virus to Chile sometime before 1984. The article holds Chile responsible for packing Salmon into offshore pens where they can’t help but – to put it bluntly - eat where they relieve themselves.

Congested pens with a dash of the infectious salmon anaemia, or I.S.A. virus, brewed lethal consequences for salmon in 2007. Chile’s Atlantic salmon industry lost half its fish, suffered $2 billion in losses, and left 26,000 workers without a job.

Four years later in Puerto Montt, where salmon is king, 5000 people are still unemployed according to the editor of El Repuerto Felipe Chavez. After the industry moved southward to set up their salmon farms in new waters, many on protected lands, salmon workers scrambled to find new employment. Chavez said, “The companies stole the money and left.”

The salmon may have a new home, but the scale of the farming practices remains the same. Now, officials said there are 23 production centers with a strain of the virus. All are non-virulent, so for now, Chileans copper-colored fillets should be safe.

However, the small genetic pool, the lack of environmental conservation, and the unforeseen consequences of widely used, large-scale farming practices could have dire consequences. The NY Times editorial reads, “The death of millions of farmed salmon in Chilean waters was a warning sign that must be heeded.”

For the people of Puerto Montt, cutting jobs is far more troubling than dead salmon, said Chavez.

On Tuesday a reporter for the Radio Universidad de Chile wrote, “In Chile, the evaluation of this problem doesn’t differ from the American editorial.” The article chastises the “abusive labor practices,” chemical mismanagement, and the overcrowding of salmon banks.

Scientists, workers, and government officials fear that despite new regulations, it's difficult to ensure the industry will remain stable.


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Aparentemente era cuestión de

Aparentemente era cuestión de tiempo para que ese virus llegara a Chile. 

Los trabajadores del sector no imaginaron que esto podría ocurrir.

Mientras no exista una forma de erradicarlo, habrá que adaptar los sistemas de cultivo a las nuevas condiciones, asumiendo menores rentabilidades económicas para el sector.

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El problema deberia ser

El problema deberia ser resuelto por la demanda del salmon, es decir los compradores (USA, Europa y japon) deberian evitar comprar productos de cualquier criadero. Al final como decimos en chile, "la culpa no la tiene el chancho sino quien le da el afrecho"

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