Chile salmon farming companies ordered to declassify the amount of antibiotics used

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Yet it may take a while to get the information.

The Chilean Transparency Council (CPLT) – an independent corporation of public law whose main task is to ensure proper compliance of the law – has ordered some of Chile’s largest salmon farmers to provide information on the amount of antibiotics used during 2015, 2016 and 2017, as well as their biomass, to a marine conversation charity.

18 out of 24 companies refused to give the data requested in February of this year according to Oceana in a press release.

The charity that says that it’s “dedicated to protecting and restoring the world’s oceans,” has successfully campaigned to restrict the expansion of bottom trawling to pristine areas in Chile.

In 2016, following a year long court battle, a Chilean court upheld a request by the environmental group Oceana that requires the Chilean aquaculture industry to disclose details surrounding the antibiotics they use in their salmon farming operations. However, regarding the biomass produced between 2015 and 2017, information that was also requested by Oceana, the CPLT only ordered the voluntary delivery of that data.

But some salmon farms have argued that the disclosure of the data would put them at risk from a competitive, economic and commercial point of view and have refused to give up the information.

Liesbeth van der Meer

“Knowing only the amount of antibiotics used without the salmon production data, does not allow us to have a complete picture of the industry, nor to detect which companies are making an abusive use of antibiotics,” said Liesbeth van der Meer, Executive Director of Oceana.

“At a national level we know that Chilean salmon farmers use 1,400 times more antibiotics per ton produced than Norway, the world’s leading producer, but that data is not enough for consumers in Chile and around the world to know which companies are producing the most, in an irresponsible way (…),” she added.

In this year’s request, some of the companies that opposed the delivery of the information are the main salmon companies in the country such as AquaChile, Marine Harvest, Cermaq and Salmones Multiexport.

The other companies that withheld the information are Australis Mar, Salmon Humboldt, Yadran Crops, Exporter Los Fiordos, Tornagaleones Marine Farm, Holding and Trading (Salmon Concessions, Salmon de Chile and Salmonconcesiones XI Región), Invermar, Salmones Austral (Salmons Pacific Star and Trusal ), Salmones Aysén, Southern Cold Salmon, Magellanic Salmon, Ventisqueros Sea Products and Cooke Aquaculture Chile.

Of all the companies to which the information was requested, only Aquagen SA, Nova Austral SA, Salmones Antarctica SA, Salmones Iceval Ltda., Salmones Blumar SA, and Salmones Camanchaca SA agreed to deliver Salmones Caleta Bay SA agreed to deliver only the amount of antibiotics used, but not the biomass produced.

“We demand that this information be easily accessible to all consumers and stop being at the discretion of the companies. It can not be that in the face of opposition from some companies we have to engage in judicial processes that last for years to obtain the data, “said Van Der Meer.