Indigenous communities must be consulted over Salmones Antartica project

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Chile’s Environmental Assessment Service (SEA) has approved a request from Citizen Environmental Participation (PAC) on the expansion of the salmon farming industry.

Indigenous communities Las Dalias and Piedra Funda de Cahuach issued the request ahead of the expansion of Salmones Antartica’s operations, which is seeking to boost production from 3,600 to 6,600 tons per year.

The decision from PAC marks the first time that this type of process has been initiated in Magallanes, Chile after the Third Chamber of the Supreme Court ruled that the PAC procedure must be considered for the installation, merger or relocation of salmon farming operations in the Kawesqar National Reserve.

Salmones Antartica is looking to increase biomass production per cycle at the site. The SEA had initially sought to consider this through an environmental impact statement (DIA), which would not have needed to involve mandatory citizen participation.

However, the local communities claimed the project could impact them in 6 ways: putting the health of the population at risk, generating adverse effects on renewable resources, altering the life and customs of communities, its location to populations, resources and protected areas, altering the tourist value of the area and altering sites with cultural value.

The consultation will be completed within 20 working days, with PAC’s process bringing together consultations with authorities, the company and local communities, addressing opinions, comments and concerns about the project’s expansion.