Alicia Gallardo: "In the field of salmon farming, we will strengthen remote surveillance." Photo: Sernapesca.

Chile budgets for enhanced salmon inspection regime

Chile’s government aquaculture agency, Sernapesca, has been given an increased budget of almost 33.2 billion pesos (£32.8 million) for 2021, enabling it to enhance salmon farm inspections.

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In addition to creating a centre for remote monitoring of fish farming sites, Sernapesca hopes to have more of its own vessels to monitor aquaculture in the Magallanes region.

“We feel very fortunate with the budget approved by Dipres (Chilean government budget office), as it allows us to maintain our operation and focus on issues of greater impact for sustainability,” said Sernapesca national director Alicia Gallardo. 

“In the field of salmon farming, we will strengthen remote surveillance, intelligence units, with a view to continuing to innovate for the best 2.0 control.”

Risk profiles

Sernapesca intends to use its own records, combined with the increasing amount of ‘big data’ being collected on salmon farms, to establish risk profiles.

“This dynamic will allow us in the near future to predict those areas with the highest possibilities of registering massive escapes of salmon, for example,” said Gallardo. 

“Also, we are creating a remote control centre, incorporating remote monitoring of fish farming sites in health and environmental aspects, in order to have alerts based on risk profiles, with teams trained for the job.”

Strengthened inspections

Within the 2021 budget, almost 1.2bn pesos are allocated to fund Environmental Reports (INFAs) related to salmon farms, and another 59m pesos for the operational continuity of the Integrated Foreign Trade System Project (Sicex), focused on aquaculture and fishing.

“The 2021 budget will be able to cover INFAs necessary for the operation of salmon farming, and it is very important to emphasise that in addition, the process of inspection of these has been greatly strengthened, detecting findings that allow us to improve the quality of our service and provide guarantees to the public that these Environmental Reports show the condition of each cultivation centre,” said Gallardo.

The director added: “The arrival of our surveillance ship to the Magallanes aquaculture region is the first of many, to establish an independent inspection, in conjunction with the Navy. And in the other regions, we will continue to rent boats for this purpose.”

Among the 2021 objectives of the Ministry of Economy, expressed in the budget, is “to strengthen the sustainable development of national aquaculture”.