The recapture of escaped salmon in Chile much lower than first estimates

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Only 38,000 fish has been recovered.

Early July, a Marine Harvest salmon farm in Chile suffered a major fish leak caused by a massive storm that damaged the confinement structures. The farm complex is located at Isla Huar, just out from the salmon capital Puerto Montt.

Communications Director Eivind Nævdal-Bolstad informed SalmonBusiness that the site contained around 900,000 fish averaging 3.4 kilos in weight.

Now it appears that the number of fish caught after the escape is significantly lower than previously reported by Chilean media .

“The catch is so far 38,000 fish. The recapture period has been extended by 30 days from July 24th. We still have a number boats, which constantly search for the escaped salmon, ” said Eivind Nævdal-Bolstad in Marine Harvest to SalmonBusiness. 

The number of fish recovered has been confirmed by the Chilean Fisheries Directorate, Sernapesca.

Under Chilean law, a company has 30 days to recover the salmon after an incident. Within that period, it must recapture at least ten percent or “environmental damage is assumed”.

Due to the fact that Marine Harvest has failed to meet this requirement, the company can expect sanctions, according to Soy Chile.

“There is environmental damage that we can not yet measure,” said Liesbeth van der Meer, director of the Oceana environmental group.

Tuesday it was reported that the country’s Undersecretary of Environment seeks to sue the company for the escape.