Chilean senator looks to industry for algae-bloom answers

News
1921

The chairman of a senate committee on the fisheries in Chile is, along with the Chilean salmon-farming industry, looking into the connection between greater farm numbers and algae blooms

Last week, it was 790 tonnes of salmon were confirmed lost due to a combined algae and illness onslaught in the country’s southern salmon regions. Now, Senator Raindranath Quinteros, head of the committee, said he is worried about a lack of preparedness should a crisis take hold like that which decimated salmon stocks I 2016.

Read Chilean officials log “massive” salmon losses

“As far as we know, a damaging algae bloom occurred in-line with a temperature increase and less oxygen in the water, and when the number of salmon increases, the temperature increases and oxygen is reduced,” Quinteros was quoted by SoyChile as saying.

He said he expected the salmon-farming industry and other local players “to contribute to a serious discussion” on the reason for algae blooms.

However, some of Chile’s leading algae-watching scientists in 2017 noted that algae blooms tend to hover offshore before briefly touching down onshore to occasionally wreak their havoc. They may be caused by higher levels of dissolved carbon-dioxide in the world’s oceans, or they may be contributing to some of those lower levels.

Quinteros, however, appeared to understand the hovering threat of harmful algae blooms, or HABs.

“The threat of a new algae bloom, especially Red Tide, remains latent in the southern part of the (salmon-producing regions). A couple of years ago, we had a critical situation that greatly impacted the fishery and the local economy, and it isn’t clear whether we learned anything from this or not,” Quinteros was quoted as saying.