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Rupanco lake has beautiful water, surrounded by a unique landscape that includes the Osorno Volcano and the Puntiagudo.

Osorno court fines salmon farmer for contamination of lake beds

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Thursday, June 13, 2019, 00:40 (GMT + 9)

The 2nd Civil Court of Osorno sentenced Salmones Pacific Star to pay two fines for contaminating the bottoms of two concessions located in Lake Rupanco, in the province of Osorno, Los Lagos Region.

During December 2018, the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (SERNAPESCA) undertook inspection work on Lake Rupanco, where six inspections were carried out, giving rise to four complaints.

At present, there are two of the judicial proceedings with conviction of first instance. All this in the framework of a campaign to film the lake bottoms with underwater robotics equipment, aimed at assessing the condition of the lake bottoms in order to demonstrate the presence of waste from the salmon farming activity, reported SERNAPESCA

Location of the Salmon Pacific Star salmon farms in Lake Rupanco, in the province of Osorno, Los Lagos Region.

As a result of the above, the 2nd Civil Court of Osorno, in two different proceedings, sentenced Salmones Pacific Star to pay two fines of 1,500 UTM (CLP 73.5 million / USD 105,395) each, while the legal representative must pay a fine of 100 UTM (CLP 4.9 million / USD 7026) for each process.

According to SERNAPESCA, in order to establish the fines, the judge took into special consideration the damage caused to the environment, which he considered serious due to the presence of whitish bottoms, which show contamination by uneaten food and other organic waste, as well as other elements such as counterweights, ropes, mesh fish tanks and metal railings in the lake bottom under the fish farming modules.

In addition, he took into account that the company is a repeat offender. The sentence is not yet firm, so the salmon company can file the resources that the law grants.

"These rulings confirm the need to protect the environment in a better way, especially what has to do with the lakes of our region," said the regional director of SERNAPESCA Los Lagos, Eduardo Aguilera.

"The lakes have a different condition to the impact that occurs in the farming centers at sea, the residence times of the organic matter that falls from the salmon are much greater, but fundamentally this has to do with the impact of structures and equipment that falls to the bottom of the lake and where the owner is responsible," he added.

Salmones Pacific Star rejected the ruling and said it will appeal the decision of the Osorno Court.

The company assures that since it acquired the concession in Lake Rupanco, in 2013, it made investments for more than CLP 100 million (approximately USD 143,400) in three cleaning processes of lake bottoms, whose results were duly certified. "The last procedure was carried out in January 2019 by Oceanrov Submarine Works, as established in our schedule," he said.

In addition, he stressed that, "unlike what the ruling of the Civil Court of Osorno indicates, there is no recidivism of the company, this being the first to fall under this concession."

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