The major believes there may be a link between the disposal of morts and the arrival of the red tide

Mort disposal linked to ‘red tide’

The Mayor of Quellón, Cristian Ojeda, believes that the dumping of salmon killed by harmful algal blooms (HABs) off the Chilean coast may have led to the recent ‘red tide’ that is devastating the fishing and shellfish industries around Chiloé island. 

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According to reports in the local paper, La Estrella de Chiloé, the mayor has called for clarification over the possible impact of “dumping tonnes of putrefying salmon off the Pacific coast”.

Around 25 million dead salmon were disposed of at sea following the HABs earlier this year and Ojeca argues that seafarers and coastal communities have a right to know what impact this action really had on the area, and to find out whether it was indeed linked to the recent red tide - caused by Alexandrium catenella, a dinophlagelate that can cause death if one consumes molluscs containing it in high doses - which has shut down the fishing and mussel farming industries and led to mass protests.

"They [the farming companies] must be held responsible for their actions, this is not something to be merely be dismissed in a press conference with refutations about the relationship between mort disposal and discharges and what happened in Cucao and Mar Brava,” he said, adding that a serious investigation was needed to stop the situation recurring in the future.