On Monday night, the Chilean farming company Blumar reported that it has lost an estimated 760,000 Atlantic salmon, equivalent to approximately 1,230 tonnes of biomass, in an extraordinary mortality event. The losses occurred over the weekend as a result of a toxic algae bloom.
According to Chilean news provider, Diario Estrategia, the number of fish in the three sites affected until before the event was approximately 2.55 million, with an average weight of 1.6 kilos.
“Thanks to the insurance agreement, the incident will not have significant negative consequences for Blumar,” the company’s CEO Gerardo Balbotin stated.
The algae attack is said to have taken place at one of the company’s fish farms in the Aysen region in southern Chile. The company continues to tally the losses and the figures given so far are not final.
According Mundo Acuicola, the removal of the dead fish began on Saturday, 8 January and is expected to end in the coming days. The affected fish will be processed in a fishmeal plant specially enabled for these purposes.
“We have trained personnel and equipment to monitor the phenomenon and the environment. We are taking samples every 24 hours of the water column on the surface and also at 5, 10 and 15 meters deep, which we are sending to the laboratory to maintain an identification and quantification of the phenomenon.”
Chile has struggled heavily with toxic algae in recent years. In the spring of 2016, the country’s aquaculture industry lost about 25 million salmon from deadly algae.