Court upholds Nova Austral fine, authorities call it a “historic precedent”

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Chilean aquaculture authority says sanctions are the most effective tool against companies trying to deceive it.

Sernapesca writes the decision to hit Nova Austral with a CLP 153 million (EUR 0.1 million) fine, the maximum under Chilean law, for concealing and providing out-of-date information, has been upheld.

The case surrounds the salmon farmer (which is half-owned by private equity giant Bain Capital) which operates in far southern Chile. It was investigated over misreporting of salmon mortality numbers in 2019.

“This closes a case that began in the middle of last year when it was revealed that Nova Austral systematically covered up the true mortality figures in its salmon farms in Magellan,” said Sernapesca National Director Alicia Gallardo Lagno.

“Upon the finding, the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service filed the corresponding complaint and the company was sanctioned for payment of 3,000 UTM (EUR 0.1 million .ed). However, given that the firm committed this wrongdoing for three years, and only take corrective action when it was discovered, the supervisory body decided to appeal the judgment and ask for further sanctions, which was finally granted on 29 December,” she said.

The boss said that the judgment is “a milestone for the aquaculture supervisory body” and that sanctions are the most effective tool against companies trying to deceive it.

“This is a precedent that is tremendously relevant, to inform authority for the public good, for the sustainability of resources and that not doing so comes at a cost, and has a high cost as established by the Punta Arenas Court,” added Lagno.