Caleta Bay lost fish from its Phillipi and Puerto Phillipi sites, located in the Totoral sector in Los Lagos region.
Caleta Bay lost fish from its Phillipi and Puerto Phillipi sites, located in the Totoral sector in Los Lagos region.

Salmon farmer recaptures more than 22,000 escaped fish


A Chilean salmon farmer has managed to recapture more than a third of 60,000 coho salmon and trout that escaped after nets were sabotaged at two farms last week.

Caleta Bay has now recovered more than 22,000 fish which have been euthanised and will be ensiled in accordance with regulations.

“We have been faced with a very complex situation as a result of a vandal action by third parties, and we are carrying out all the corresponding actions,” said Caleta Bay’s freshwater production manager Rodrigo Salgado.

“We are focused on achieving the recapture of the maximum possible amount of fish, in addition to reiterating our commitment and work with the communities, the authorities and Sernapesca.”

Small trout

A total of 60,023 fish escaped last week, of which 20,780 were trout with an average weight of 23.2 grams and 39,243 were coho salmon with an average weight of 419. 4 grams.

The issue of security is a concern for both the company and its neighbours. Helmut Müller Rehbein, a member of the Totoral community near to where the farms are sited, said: “I have had the opportunity to get to know Caleta Bay, and it is a pity that this has happened, because I know that they are constantly seeking to do things well.

“And these criminal acts come to dirty the efforts of companies like this, which are an active part of the community and are responsible with the environment.”

Tighter security

In addition to its fish recapture efforts, Caleta Bay has reinforced the security measures at its farms.

A member of Chile’s Senate, Iván Moreira, has pointed out that there have previously been threats to the salmon farming industry from the Coordinadora Arauco-Malleco (CAM), a radical militant indigenous organisation engaged in political violence in pursuit of attaining an autonomous Mapuche state. Last year Chile’s Chamber of Deputies (MPs) voted to declare the CAM an illegal terrorist organisation.

“I would not be surprised if those who cause fear in La Araucanía, Biobío and Los Ríos now dedicate themselves to sabotaging the salmon farming industry, generating damage environmental impact and jeopardizing the source of employment for thousands of families,” Moreira told Fish Farming Expert’s Chilean sister site,