Referential image of smolt production. Photo: Salmonexpert Archive.

Smolt plant arson attack ‘was not about salmon industry’

Salmon farmer Cermaq has expressed its shock after armed raiders entered and set fire to a smolt facility in Chile.

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The arson attack occurred at the Collín facility, in the Vilcún commune in La Araucanía region, which is rented by another salmon farmer, Yadran. It follows a similar incident at another Cermaq site last year.

“We are shocked by the news of the attacks on the Collín hatchery,” a Cermaq spokesperson told Fish Farming Expert.

No one hurt

“The hatchery is rented out to Yadran and operated by them. None of their employees were injured and as far as we know, fish have not been lost. The smolts produced at the hatchery are for Yadran’s own use so do not impact on Cermaq’s operations. All our operations and assets are insured.

“We have had good relations to the local community. These attacks are nothing to do with the industry or Cermaq/Yadran, there are general issues in the area with attacks on various industries. We believe attacks like this are unacceptable but for authorities and police to deal with.”

Forensics experts investigate the site of the Coipué arson attack last May. Click on image to enlarge. Photo: Radio Cooperativa.

Shots fired

In May last year, the office of Cermaq’s Coipué smolt facility, also in La Araucanía, was destroyed by an armed group of eight people who set fire to the building.

Shots were fired during the incident, but no workers were injured.

The group that carried out the Coipué arson attack left some pamphlets in the affected area against a road the construction project.

Communities at risk

The Salmon Council – an industry body comprising AquaChile, Cermaq, Mowi and Salmones Aysén – said: “We regret these events that greatly affect the development of a productive activity, along with putting at risk the safety of the workers who carry out their work and of the neighbouring communities.

“We hope that those responsible for these serious events will be sought.”

The Council added: “We are sure that violence will never be the way to resolve differences and therefore, we call on the institutional channels to resolve them.”