Salmon farming centre. (Photo: SalmonChile)
Salmon industry neighbourhood system to be checked
Thursday, July 12, 2012, 00:30 (GMT + 9)
The head of the Aquaculture Division of the Undersecretariat of Fisheries (Subpesca), José Miguel Burgos, admitted that the government intends to check the salmon farming neighbourhood system given the repeated criticism expressed by members of the sector.
Salmon producers argue that the production model is causing more costs than benefits to local companies.
However, the official warned that if there are certain changes, the implementation would not be ready before 2017.
Furthermore, Burgos said the modifications will be made as long as the health break is maintained, that is to say, all the fish in a neighborhood go into the water and come out at the same time, the newspaper El Mercurio reported.
"Without the health break, big, small and medium-sized fish will be living together, which from the standpoint of disease control is not the most desirable result," Burgos explained.
"Any amendment made regarding the size and structure of the neighborhoods is an issue that we are willing to discuss," he added.
According to Burgos, the current system has a weakness: the introduction of salmon into saltwater when the salmon have not yet completed the smoltification process increases the risk of disease.
"That's a flaw that can be solved with better programming in the industry, setting the break periods," he pointed out.
Another difficulty faced by the salmon industry is the logistical problem that originates with the concentration on harvests: sometimes there are few enabled ports and this involves a joint output of the production.
For the Chilean government, there are two solutions related to the size of the neighbourhoods and to the length of the break periods, Burgos said.
The current law states that the periods when neighbourhoods are to remain empty should be for three months and the production cycles should be for 21 to 24 months. Subpesca is evaluating the possibility of extending the three to six months off, but with more flexibility.
A few weeks ago, Subpesca announced the division into macro zones, which are isolated maritime and coastal areas where the neighbourhoods with production centres are located. There remain some standards, such as the farming and the health density regulation for the control of Salmon Rickettsial Syndrome (SRS).
Furthermore, the Undersecretariat proposed the amendment of several areas suitable for the practice of aquaculture in Los Lagos region in order to limit the existing concession areas.
The proposal intends to 'disaffect' many of the areas located in Costa Expuesta, west and east of Seno de Reloncaví, Diario Financiero reported.
- Seventy-two aquaculture concessions to be relocated
By Analia Murias