EcoSea released the results of the copper bactericide in water. (Photo: Codelco)
Copper-zinc cages, a success for healthy salmon harvest
Friday, April 13, 2012, 23:50 (GMT + 9)
The company Ecosea Farming SA ensures they carried out a study to show that copper-zinc cages used for salmon farming eliminate 99.9 per cent of the major pathogens (viruses and bacteria) by only half an hour of exposure.
This was announced after performing the first harvest of salmon after the health crisis that took place in 2007 as a result of the spread of infectious salmon anemia (ISA) virus in several farms in the country.
Located near Hornopirén in the Lake District, the cages developed by this firm, a subsidiary of the National Copper Corporation (Codelco), are made of copper (65 per cent of the total) and of zinc (35 per cent) mesh, Radio Bío Bío reported.
According to the preliminary data, the salmon mortality rate dropped on average over 35 per cent over conventional mesh used in the same centre.
The Mining Minister, Hernán de Solminihac, considers the use of copper cages in Chile "is a technological innovation that increases productivity, provides a solution to health issues and optimizes operating costs on farms."
From Ecosea it is argued that these copper-zinc cages contribute to the improvement of productivity, to the solution of health issues and to the optimization of operating costs on farms.
In addition, the cages are 100 per cent recyclable and impervious to predators, like sea lions.
By using them, it is expected that operating costs are reduced by more than 20 per cent, Codelco pointed out.
Currently, Chile has 68 non-submersible cages with copper alloy mesh in operation.
Four million fish, or about 20,000 tonnes of Atlantic salmon and trout, among other fishery resources, are farmed in these cages.
"The proof that the bactericidal property of copper also works in the water and eliminates the bacterial load without affecting the surrounding ecosystem will mean a tremendous advance for the health of fish and worldwide feeding," stressed Juan Pablo Schaeffer, General Manager of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability at Codelco.
Ecosea is also present in Australia, China, US, Greece and Turkey, which are countries where farming systems with copper alloys have already been installed.
The company has agreements with firms in Norway, Canada and Scotland, in which it is expected that by 2015 200 new cages will have been added, EFE agency reported.
- Leading salmon farm to use of copper cages
By Analia Murias