The reasons why in the US it is recommended to avoid consuming salmon produced in Chile

Bloody Chilean Patagonia: 14 salmon industry workers and divers died in 2021
Entrevista al director de Ecoceanos en Radio Nuevo Mundo por altos índices de trabajadores muertos en Salmoneras

Antibiotics, bacterial resistance, antiparasitics and sea lice. Added to this is the lack of transparency and information for consumers, as well as the existence of massive escapes of salmonids that threaten aquatic biodiversity. These are some of the factors that support the decision of SeafoodWatch, the Monterey Bay Aquarium consumer information program, to recommend “avoiding” the consumption of salmon from Chile.

California, United States, January 12, 2022 (Ecoceanos News) – Salmon production from southern Chile was rated with a red note by SeafoodWatch, a Monterey Bay Aquarium program that observes the conditions in which salmon farms operate in the world and that every 5 years prepares a report of recommendations regarding the production of these species.

Their latest report is devastating for Chilean salmon production as it recommends North American consumers and international markets avoid the consumption of most salmon farmed in the South American country.

The study warns that Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), which constitutes 59% of Chilean productions, has been classified in the category of «avoid its consumption.»


Antibiotics, bacterial resistance, antiparasitics and sea lice

When referring to the cultivated productions from the Los Lagos region (Chiloe archipelago), and the Patagonian region of Aysen, the Seafood Watch points out that “the high use of antibiotics and pesticides to control diseases and sea lice are of critical concern”.

The Monterrey Bay Aquarium program tells consumers that the extensive use of antibiotics in Chilean Atlantic salmon production probably contributes to the generation of bacterial resistance.

Industrial salmon farming is the activity that uses the most antibiotics in Chile, exceeding by 300% that used in Norwegian productions. The long-term use of antimicrobials generates bacterial resistance in marine sediments several kilometers away from farms, as well as in the intestines of migratory wild birds and fish, as well as probably in the skin and intestines of operators who handle these products.

Bacterial resistance has been shown to have the potential to spread between human and animal pathogens. The ingestion of fish with resistant bacteria, as consequence of lake, riverine and marine contamination with human pathogens, promotes the genetic exchange of resistance between environmental bacteria, fish pathogens and people.

The current «One Health» approach of the World Health Organization (WHO) alerts States and citizens about the threat of bacterial resistance in the 21st century. This is due to the increasing loss of effectiveness of antibiotics in human medicine due to the irresponsible industrial use of these drugs.

The Monterrey Bay Aquarium report that is published every five years, also expresses its growing concern about the successive massive escapes of thousands of salmonids from the farming centers in southern Chile, warning that Coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch), – species carnivorous introduced-, seems to be in the process of naturalization while increasing its range of distribution in the fragile southern aquatic ecosystems.

Ecoceanos Centre: No to Chilean Industrial Chemical Salmon

The Ecoceanos Center pointed out that “the Seafood Watch report puts on the table the growing demand of consumers, coastal communities and organized citizens for the need for transparency and the right to access accurate and timely information as key elements in the fight against the irresponsible massive use of antimicrobials, antiparasitics and carcinogenic antifungals by this mega exporting industry »

Juan Carlos Cárdenas, veterinarian and director of the Ecoceanos Centre stated that “we value the recommendation of the Monterrey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program to Chilean and North American consumers to avoid the consumption of Atlantic salmon from Chile for public health reasons, and protection of the aquatic ecosystems of Patagonia”.

The Ecoceanos Centre indicated that “this is a fight between David and Goliath where, progressively, Chilean public opinion and consumers in the United States, the main destination market for salmon, have been informed about the sub-standard socio-environmental, sanitary and behind the productions of the ‘Chilean Industrial Chemical Salmon”.

The citizen organization calls on consumers and the social movement to be informed and press, supporting the campaign to boycott the consumption of industrial chemical salmon from southern Chile, and to promote in parliament a number of bills that provides the right to access to public information, the exit of this industry from the protected areas of the State, as well as the non-relocation of cultivation centers, together with effective sanctions for the massive escapes of these exotic carnivorous species, among other aspects.