Antibiotics used for farmed salmon. (Photo Credit: Ocena)
Access denied to data on antibiotics used in salmon industry
Wednesday, April 22, 2015, 22:00 (GMT + 9)
The Transparency Council decided to deny access to data on the quantities and types of antibiotics used for each salmon company in Chile, which had been requested by the marine conservation organization Oceana.
The Council argued that the National Fisheries Service (SERNAPESCA) does not have the obligation to provide disaggregated information by company because it would affect its competitiveness in the market. Oceana filed a claim of illegality against the decision taken by the Council at the Court of Appeals of Santiago.
"Transparency is the only way for citizens to know whether the practices of salmon firms affect or not people’s health and the environment. We find it is a gross mistake to privilege the private commercial interests of the companies over the protection of people’s fundamental rights," stressed Oceana CEO, Alex Muñoz.
In July last year, Oceana resorted to the Council for Transparency after 50 salmon firms declined to disclose the amount and type of antibiotics used, arguing that it would be exposing themselves to a "competitive and commercial risk".
A report issued by SERNAPESCA revealed that Chilean salmon firms together used 450.7 tonnes of antibiotics in 2013, while Norway, the largest farmed salmon producer in the world, used only one tonne.
Oceana stresses that the World Health Organization (WHO) has indicated that the overuse of antibiotics causes a bacterial resistance in fish that can cause serious public health problems, leaving certain diseases affecting humans without treatment. This is added to the pollution from salmon firms through other chemicals such as antiparasitic drugs, causing serious damage to marine ecosystems.
"If an industry requires tonnes of antibiotics and other chemical products to function, then it is simply not sustainable and the health crisis is only a matter of time," concluded Alex Muñoz.
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