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Chile: Biggest seizure of stolen salmon in 10 years

Navy personnel next to some of the seized salmon. Photo: Chilean Navy.
Navy personnel next to some of the seized salmon. Photo: Chilean Navy.

Fifteen people have been arrested and bailed in Chile after 17.2 tonnes of stolen salmon was found on a boat boarded by the Navy near Chile’s ‘salmon capital’ of Puerto Montt.

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The operation, carried out in conjunction with the Department of Intelligence of the Maritime Government, is the largest salmon confiscation in the last 10 years.

Commander Felipe González, in charge of the port of Puerto Montt, told Fish Farming Expert’s Chilean sister site, Salmonexpert.cl, “the boat had 15 people on board and, during the inspection, we realised that there salmon on board whose origin could not be determined”.

Invermar’s fish

Initially, the alleged offenders said that they only had six tonnes of salmon but later, when weighing the whole load, the Navy determined that there were 17.2 tonnes of Atlantic salmon, which was finally discovered to belong to Invermar.

González explained that, once the discovery was made, the duty prosecutor was immediately called and they ordered the arrest of the 15 people on the boat for the crime of reception. They were detained and were later released pending further investigation.

“This is the largest seizure of the last 10 years, we want to reaffirm our commitment to protect everyone, both fishermen and businessmen, from these thefts that take place in the area,” said González.

By order of the prosecutor the salmon were delivered back to Invermar. The origin of the boat involved, the Valbel, is still under investigation.

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