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Marine Harvest Chile general manager Fernando Villarroel. (Photo: Stock File)

Marine Harvest clarifies information on massive salmon escape

Click on the flag for more information about Chile CHILE
Friday, July 13, 2018, 00:40 (GMT + 9)

Marine Harvest Chile has considered it appropriate to clarify some aspects related to the massive salmon escape occurring in a farming centre that the company operates in the sector of Huar Island, in Los Lagos Region, after a severe storm that damaged its facilities.

The company general manager, Fernando Villarroel, clarified that the antibiotics used is Florfenicol, a product for exclusive use for veterinary purposes with the low potential risk of generating resistance in humans, and that offers a very rapid removal of the organism from fish .

In addition, he explained that of the 10 cages that the affected centre owns, one never received antibiotics in its productive cycle and six of them had met the lack period, for which the antibiotics traces comply with all the standards of the most demanding international markets, which is what MH uses as a reference.

The three remaining cages had their last day of treatment on July 4, so after a week, it can be inferred that these fish are below the residual limits required by the Health Service in Chile. However, the required grace period is not met.

"The company is taking samples of the fish rescued from the affected centre with an official laboratory and, in addition, random samples are being taken at collection points for fish recaptured by fishermen, which now total more than 30,000," said the General Manager of Marine Harvest Chile.

He said that in 80 per cent of the samples analyzed so far no traces of antibiotics were detected and in the remaining 20 per cent ​​levels were found to be 50 times lower than required by Chilean sanitary regulations. "However, there is no certainty of the traceability of recaptured fish on which they have fulfilled their grace period," Villarroel added.

Marine Harvest manager said they continue working to recover the fish that escaped and thanked the support provided by artisanal fishermen from various locations such as Calbuco, Isla Huar and Puerto Montt.

"This recapture plan will continue and we hope that more artisanal fishermen will join these tasks due to their effectiveness and knowledge of the area," the executive concluded.

For his part, Arturo Clement, president of SalmonChile, described the accident experienced by Marine Harvest as "an unfortunate fact, which is quite unprecedented for the industry" and expressed his hope that the measures adopted by the company give good results.

"Obviously we are concerned and in constant communication with the authority and the company to know the details of this accident, as well as the recovery of fish," said Clement.

SalmonChile president pointed out that according to SERNAPESCA figures, the number of fish that escape annually is low, less than 1 per cent of the total farmed fish so "it can be concluded that the case that affected this company is exceptional and punctual".

Related articles:

- Salmon escape could cost USD 14 million to Marine Harvest
- Marine Harvest tries to recapture some 900,000 escaped salmon not fit for consumption

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