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The Chilean Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (Sernapesca) has established a deadline of five days, from 14th March, for salmon producers affected by algal blooms to comply with the final disposal of any fish that died 10 or more days before.

The measure seeks to prevent an environmental emergency, as a result of decaying fish, and the deputy director of Aquaculture at Sernapesca, Alicia Gallardo, has asked each company to deliver their action plans within 24 hours. Use of small vessels or unsuitable systems for handling this type of waste will not be accepted.

The authority explained that “after ten or more days mortality is not suitable to be processed as fishmeal, so it should be disposed in landfill sites or in a safe area of the sea as has been established by the Maritime Authority”.

Regarding doubts over the safety of dumping morts in the sea, Alicia Gallardo stressed that this procedure is accepted by the London Protocol, an international convention establishing the safety and sanitary parameters for disposal of such elements.

"This is organic matter incorporated to the food chain in that area, so it would not imply negative impacts. Anyway, this is an emergency measure, because the ideal would have been to remove all mortality from the water, either reducing it to fishmeal or transferring it to landfills. However, the volume of mortalities is such that if we remove more than 78 per cent there is still a margin that cannot be transferred to processing plants or landfills".