A farming centre in Chile. More than 100 farms have reported mortality due to HABs. Photo: Sernapesca

Algae fish death toll tops 4,000 tonnes in Chile

The volume of farmed salmon killed by harmful algal blooms (HABs) in Chile has now passed 4,000 tonnes.

The Los Lagos region has lost 1,940.8 tonnes of fish due to HAB events, the Aysén region reported 1,859.6 tonnes of fish lost and in the Magallanes region mortality amounted to 310.6 tonnes, a total of 4,111 tonnes.

Government fisheries and aquaculture agency Subpesca, which declared a plague emergency of Alexandrium catenella in the Aysén region in January, has now added more species of algae to the emergency provision and expanded the protected area.

Although the current bloom of algae doesn’t come close to that of early 2016 in terms of magnitude, its associated fish mortalities have increased in recent weeks and already account for 10% of the event that occurred two years ago, where losses reached 40,000 tonnes.

According to information provided by the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (Sernapesca) to fishfarmingexpert.com’s Chilean sister site, Salmonexpert, salmonid losses affected 95 farming centres located in 33 Concession Groups (ACS) in the Los Lagos, Aysén and Magellanes regions.

In Los Lagos 17 farming centres in seven ACS were affected, while in Aysén 77 farming centres in 25 ACS lost fish. Only one farming centre lost fish in Magallanes.

Farmers that have reported losses due to HABs include Invermar, which lost around 1,600 tons of harvest-ready salmon valued at US $8.25 million, AquaChile, Australis, Blumar, Multiexport, Salmones Antártica, Cermaq and Los Fiordos.