Image of a Lepidodinium Chlorophorum bloom. Photo: Minyvel Environment.
Image of a Lepidodinium Chlorophorum bloom. Photo: Minyvel Environment.

Chilean farmer hit again by algal bloom

Chilean salmon farmer Salmones Camanchaca has been hit by a new algal bloom over the past few days, resulting in the loss of 500,000 fish worth an estimated US $2.3 million (£1.6m).

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Three production centres in the Comau fjord of Los Lagos region are affected, according to reports: Leptepu, Porcelana and Loncochalgua.

The fish represent 600 tonnes, equivalent to 4% of the company’s total, Camanchaca said in a market statement.

The latest event comes just weeks after algal blooms, which affect oxygen levels, caused the deaths of 162,000 fish, with an average weight of 4kg, at a likely cost of US $3.5 million (£2.5m). The fish in the current incident are believed to be of a smaller average weight.

Several weeks

Camanchaca said last month’s mortality occurred specifically because of the Lepidodinium Chlorophorum microalgae bloom in the fjord, which has been present for several weeks.

‘This occurred despite the fact that the affected centres have the latest mitigation technology in place for these risks, consisting of deep-water upwelling systems and oxygenation support,’ said the company.

An algal bloom also caused the death of between 70 and 80 tonnes of salmon at Multiexport Foods’ Apiao farm in Quinchao commune, Los Lagos region, in March.