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Blumar fish escape total topped 100,000, says Sernapesca

There are 2,900 tonnes of dead salmon nearly 1,000 feet under the waves at Blumar's Caicura site. Photo: SMA.
There are 2,900 tonnes of dead salmon nearly 1,000 feet under the waves at Blumar's Caicura site. Photo: SMA.

Almost 104,000 Atlantic salmon escaped from two cages at a Chilean farm that was wrecked in stormy weather, government aquaculture agency Sernapesca has estimated.

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A further 771,405 fish died after the remaining 16 cages sank almost 1,000 feet to the seabed.

The escape and mortality occurred at the Caicura farm owned by Salmones Blumar on June 27.

12% escaped

Sernapesca estimated that 103,720 fish escaped, corresponding to 12% of the 875,125 salmon present in the farm.

The estimate was based on prospecting studies and analysis of images taken with two submarine robots and high-tech Hammerhead sonars, carried out by the company at the request of the competent authorities.

The mortality present on the seabed is estimated at 2,900 tonnes, given that the average weight of salmon at the time of the sinking was 3.8 kilos.

Verified recapture

Sernapesca national director, Alicia Gallardo, reported that the recapture of 28,276 salmon, which corresponds to 27.26% of the total escaped fish, was verified through inspections.

Under Chilean law the owner must recapture more than 10% of the escaped fish within 30 days of the escape or face heavy fines.

Blumar’s continuing responsibilities include presenting a plan for the recovery of the mortalities.

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