Chile Takes Steps to Rehabilitate Its Lucrative Salmon Industry

Publication: The New York Times

Author: Alexei Barrioneuvo

02/05/2009 - When a devastating virus swept through Chile’s farmed salmon stocks last year, some of the industry’s biggest players laid off thousands of workers, packed up operations and moved to unspoiled waters farther south along the Chilean coast. But the virus went with them.

Last month, the Chilean government began hashing out tougher measures to improve the sanitary and environmental conditions of the troubled industry. But producers expect still deeper losses this year, as the virus continues to kill millions of fish slated for export to the United States and other countries.

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The authorities also plan to organize aquaculture permits into “neighborhoods,” where salmon companies will be required build in rest periods between production cycles, to give the marine environment time to recover, said Rodrigo Infante, general manager of SalmonChile, the industry association.

But environmental groups say they will continue to lobby for tougher changes. “It is not enough for the industry to voluntarily police itself,” said Andrea Kavanagh, manager of the Salmon Aquaculture Reform Campaign for the Pew Environment Group in Washington.

“For too long, the government has ceded to industry convenience,” she added, “permitting chemicals known to harm its environment as well as consumers.”

Read the full article Chile Takes Steps to Rehabilitate Its Lucrative Salmon Industry on the New York Times' Web site.

Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information, visit the Salmon Aquaculture Reform campaign.

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