Caligus or sea lice poses concern among Chilean authorities because its incidence rose in farming centres. (Photo: UACH/ FIS)
Warnings of Caligus increase in salmon farms
Wednesday, October 24, 2012, 04:20 (GMT + 9)
The head of the Undersecretariat of Fisheries and Aquaculture (Subpesca), Pablo Galilea, warned about the "significant" increase in Caligus in salmon companies in the country.
In addition to expressing concern about the health status of the local salmon farming, the undersecretary considered that private initiatives to modify the health regulations are "insufficient," Diario Financiero reported.
With regard to the parasite Caligus, which is affecting the country's farms, Galilea anticipated that the density regulations should be ready by "1 December."
"Our proposal includes the creation of a polynomial where the risk score determines the health status of the concession, and those companies with poor performance will be required to lower their densities by 40 per cent, and those with a good performance can raise theirs by 10 per cent," he stated.
In connection with the items collected from the entrepreneurs, the Undersecretary of Fisheries acknowledged that a consensus of the business sector is very difficult.
"They proposed an amendment to health regulations, where the formalities should be examined to set production levels for the next cycle. Nevertheless, we believe that this is insufficient and will not quit our idea of passing density regulations," he added.
During the audits 12 notifications of the companies affected by Caligus were made.
"What concerns us most is Caligus, which had its prelude in the crisis caused by the infectious salmon anemia (ISA), which has increased considerably," he pointed out.
When being asked if there is a dissonance between what the government considers to be a neighbourhood of "sick" salmon with the idea entrepreneurs have, Galilea said: "There are nuances. When the parameters are clear and objective, who can object to them? What happens is that there are differences that have more to do with the interests of companies about how this affects their production levels."
The undersecretary of Chile expressed interest in continuing opening markets, such as that in Brazil, and his hope that salmon prices recover within two or three years and "show a good level again." Production will increase anyway," he concluded.
In early October, the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (Sernapesca) presented contingency plan models in Aysen to prevent and contain the effects of any unforeseen health emergency in salmon farming.
According to the Aquaculture deputy director of this entity, German Iglesias, the models were designed with the advice of experts in biosafety and logistics and "its presentation will allow the industry to identify its gaps and to adapt biosecurity measures according to risks."
Regarding Caligus infestation, Iglesias clarified that between 2011 and 2012 there has been a modest increase in Caligus loads, while in the Aysen region the number of farms with high parasite loads has also increased.
"However, this increase is targeted and a direct relationship with increasing farmed biomass has been observed," he stressed.
- Salmon industry contingency plan models presented
By Analia Murias