Salmon affected by ISA virus. (Photo: M.Ortiz University of Maine)
Government and salmon firms rely on sanitary crisis management
Tuesday, April 16, 2013, 00:50 (GMT + 9)
The head of the Undersecretariat of Fisheries and Aquaculture (Subpesca) ensures that the assessment that the Government and the private sector perform on the sanitary crisis management caused by the outbreak of infectious salmon anemia (ISA) in two farming centres in the country is favourable.
"We have to learn to live with the ISA virus," stated the Undersecretariat Pablo Galilea.
In recent days, the findings of ISA virus in two farms of the Aysen Region: Garrao, belonging to Los Fiordos, and King, to Multiexport Foods, were confirmed.
It had been 17 months since the last time the disease occurred in the country, so the Government declared the Aysén area is in sanitary emergency, the newspaper La Tercera reported.
Galilea insists on the need "not to cause panic whenever a sanitary alert is announced in aquaculture."
"It would be unrealistic to think that we have eradicated this pathogen in waters where fish farming is performed in the south of the country," he stressed.
"Our role as a State is to control that a deep crisis as that that happened in 2007 does not occur again and we must ensure that the monitoring system works. This week it has been shown that the implemented biosecurity measures are capable of investigating this or other diseases," added Subpesca head.
He also detailed some of the changes that have been made to the aquaculture rules since 2010 for the production model to be sustainable
Furthermore, the president of the Association of Chilean Salmon Industry AG (SalmonChile), Maria Eugenia Wagner, said that "it is common knowledge that the ISA virus, like other viruses, once installed can not be eradicated, but can be managed."
"At present, the country has legislation which aims to manage the disease. It is necessary to bear in mind, that the ISA virus is no longer an exotic disease, it is known by the authority, veterinarians in the field and all those who work in it," she added.
Wagner stated the fact that 100 per cent of the fish are vaccinated, including Atlantic salmon, which is the affected species, and helps to reduce the impact of the disease. And she considered that the emergence of the virus should not affect Chilean exports.
Meanwhile, the general manager of Los Fiordos, Sady Delgado said they went on to harvest the affected cage in coordination with the authority.
The National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (Sernapesca) now requested the company to harvest the entire centre within 30 days.
"We have no problem with that. We are going to respect what we are said we should do because we have the logistical and operational capacity to do so," the executive added.
The Economy Minister, Pablo Longueira, also requested to be calm.
"It is important not to cause alarm because the market can be assured that we are monitoring the situation daily and the sanitary measures are being taken immediately," he said, according to Pulso.
Despite the statements released from the government and the industry, the executive director of the environmental organization Oceana, Alex Muñoz, told Radio ADN "it is impossible to think that salmon farming will become sustainable over time."
And the Association of Coho Salmon and Trout Producers (Acotruch) expressed they are concerned to see "how the health pattern that occurred in 2007, when the health crisis began to affect us greatly, is taking place again."
To Acotruch, "the concentration of the production in some districts, the high densities of farming products and overproduction with which the industry is currently working" promote adverse sanitary conditions in the sector.
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By Analia Murias