The massive expansion of the salmon farming industry in Aysén and Magallanes regions of Chile is invading the feeding, reproduction and breeding areas, as well as migration routes of diverse populations of whales, dolphins, porpoises and sea lions.
Aysén, Chile, May 07, 2020. (Ecoceanos News)–Acarcass ofawhalewasfoundlastweek (05.01.2020)in a salmon farm of Australis Mar company. TheNational Fisheries Service (Sernapesca) reportedthatthe whale was»almost totallyentangled inropes of different lengthsand ametal chain».
The organizations Ecoceanos Center and Cetacean Conservation Center (CCC) stated that this is the tip of the iceberg of lethal interactions of the salmon industry with marine mammals intheChilean Patagonia. Sernapesca reported that the entangled whale corresponds to a Sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis),which according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), is on the red list of species.
The incident occurred on a salmon farm of the company Australis Mar, owned by the Chinese company Joyvio Agriculture Development Co., located in the area of Matilde Island, Aysén region.
Ecoceanos and CCC recalled that in 2019 a dead humpback whale (Megaptera novaengliae) was also found entangled in a salmon farming center in the same Aysén region.
Ecoceanos pointed out that «the death of this Sei whaleis only the tip of the iceberg of the destructive interactions between the transnational salmon farming and export industry, with the diverse populations of marine mammals in Patagonian waters».
The organization affirmed these situations is the result of «the massive expansion of farming centers in Aysén and Magallanes regions with governmen support, that invades and occupy feeding, reproduction and breeding areas, as well as migration routes of several populations of whales, dolphins, porpoises and sea lions ”.
Elsa Cabrera, executive director of CCC, stated that “this is not the first whale to die due to entanglement in salmon farms. This is concerning since it is aserious threat to species that are protected under national and international law. Chile must comply with the commitments acquiredunder theUS Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA)».
Application of the Marine Mammal Protection Act
Ecoceanos Center and CCC will request the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the United States to pay close attention to the various impacts produced by the accelerated territorial and productive expansion of the Chilean mega farmed salmon exporting industry on various species of cetaceans and pinnipeds, especially common sea lions (Otaria flavescens) in southern Chile.
The organizations noted that large cetaceans are threatened by entanglements, organic and chemical pollutants, habitat degradation and vessel collisions. This is why the application of the United States Marine MammalsProtection Act (MMPA) is an opportunity for the protection of the southern marine biodiversity.