March 6, 2021

Chile will denounce the salmon farming company Nova Austral for falsifying information

The Government of Chile announced on Tuesday that it will take measures against the salmon farming of Norwegian and US capital Nova Austral, after the National Fisheries Service (Sernapesca) detected a series of irregularities, including adulterating the fish mortality figures .

The information was provided to journalists, the Minister of Economy of Chile, Juan Andrés Fontaine, who stated that "Sernapesca will file a complaint for infringement of Article 113 of the Fisheries Law, (as is) falsifying the information of the operation of a center of culture ".

Fontaine also explained that there was a concealment of the environmental effects on the seabed, for which "he will file a complaint with the Superintendency of the Environment against the company."

Also, the Executive will submit a request to the Public Ministry, to investigate "the commission of crimes in their actions."

"In addition, I instructed the director (Alicia Gallardo) of Sernapesca to deliver a proposal to me as soon as possible to strengthen the inspection in the farming centers," said the Economy Minister.

Fontaine emphasized that "we are here facing serious irregularities and we will not shake our hands to enforce the law".

The minister pointed out that the manipulation of the real number of salmon deaths in its centers located inside the Alberto de Agostini National Park, in the Magallanes region and in the Chilean Antarctic "is an unfortunate situation".

The company Nova Austral, whose owners are the capital funds Altor Fund III, of Norway, and Bain Capital, of the United States, have maintained an open dispute with the sub-Antarctic science community and with Sernapesca.

This is due to its intention to install new salmon farming centers within the Cabo de Hornos World Biosphere Reserve, despite the fact that concessions for this purpose were confirmed as expired by the Undersecretariat of the Armed Forces.

In September of last year, the Inter-American Association for the Defense of the Environment (AIDA) warned that the expansion of salmon production to the Chilean region of Magallanes, in the extreme south of the country, was generating oxygen-free zones where flora and Marine fauna can not thrive.

The organization indicated that the pristine region of Magallanes is particularly vulnerable to these impacts, which affect protected species such as the blue whale, the sperm whale, the Magellanic penguin, the elephant seal, the leatherback turtle and the southern dolphin.

AIDA said that the salmon farms installed in Magallanes pollute the seabed with large amounts of waste from fish feces and the chemicals used in their culture.

They also denounce the saturation of the waters with more fish than they can withstand and the excessive use of antibiotics in the salmon industry.

Chile is the second world producer of salmon after Norway and its main markets are the United States, Japan and Brazil, in that order.

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