The newly recovered Chilean salmon-farming industry — surging of late on improvements had made for fish health and on market moves in the U.S. and Norway — was in shock on Friday, after details emerged of a lethal algal bloom and fish losses.
A bloom of algae wiped out over 10 percent of Chilean farmed salmon in 2016, and a viral outbreak in 2014 emptied pens. Now, the Magallanes and the Chilean Antarctic region are reporting a new wave of algae-related mortality, Chilean Aqua has reported.
Over the weekend of Jan. 13th, 2018, it turns out, Blumar had reported the deaths of 60,000 fish for the loss of 320 tonnes. Australis, too, is understood to have limited mortalities in “four of 16 cages” at one site, but that entailed the loss of 50,000 fish at market sizes of 6.2 kilograms.
A major salmon-farming area, growers in the Aysen were about to harvest, anyway, so Australis and others were “ready”.
“We took advantage of the same logistics to remove the (affected) fish, so we have not had to allocate new resources for this work,” company production zone manager, Adriano Cabrini, told Aqua.
Since the two incidents, “There has been no … significant mortality in the Aysen farming center due to the presence of HAB,” Aqua quoted a scientist from the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service, Sernapesca, as saying (SalmonBusiness could find no news of fish deaths on the agency’s web site).
“We do not have an algal presence in indications of over 300 cells per milliliter,” the source said, before admitting the need for “vigilance” and that overflights had been made to verify the bloom’s extent.
SalmonBusiness found on Friday that a harmful algal bloom, or HAB, of Alexandrium catenella had been under observation offshore the Aysen Region since 2016. Its edge has apparently now floated into and out of the Guaitecas and Chonos archipelagos.
In November of 2017, an algal red tide killed Australis fish, and Chilean scientists noted that last year also saw a less lethal brown algal tide that hovered but failed to make landfall.