Nova Austral slapped with six figure fine: Authorities to appeal decision not to suspend operations for two cycles

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“We are satisfied that a situation as serious as the deliberate concealment of information incurred by Nova Austral has been sanctioned”. 

Sernapesca writes that it has hit Nova Austral a EUR 170,000 fine, the maximum under Chilean law, for concealing and providing out-of-date information.

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

Sernapesca’s National Director Alicia Gallardo filed a complaint against the company for the delivery of unreliable and out of time information, requesting the maximum possible penalty under the Fisheries Act, which is equivalent to a fine but also the suspension of operations for up to two production cycles.

However, the court did not impose the suspension of operations for two production cycles as provided by law, arguing that the company would have collaborated with the process and corrected its procedures.

The Chilean fishing authority subsequently announced that they will appeal that decision.

“We are satisfied that a situation as serious as the deliberate concealment of information incurred by Nova Austral has been sanctioned. The delivery of information on salmon farm mortality is essential to prevent sanitary situations that affect not only the company, but its entire environment,” said Gallardo.

“However, we will appeal the ruling because we believe that there is no history to justify the failure to suspend operations as required by law, and also because concrete signs must be given on the part of our institutionality that this type of behavior is not tolerable and, therefore, the sanctions established to prevent it must be operated in its entirety,” she added.