A burned out building at Salmonifera Dalcahue's San Patricio site.
A burned out building at Salmonifera Dalcahue's San Patricio site.

Arson attack on Chilean smolt facility

Armed and masked men force staff out before torching RAS


A building at a Chilean salmon fry and smolt facility in the country’s La Araucanía region has been destroyed in an arson attack by masked, armed men who forced staff to leave the premises before setting it alight, Fish Farming Expert’s Chilean sister site, Salmonexpert.cl, reports.

The facility is one of three recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) plants operated in the town of San Patricio in Vilcún commune by smolt producer Salmonifera Dalcahue, which has eight facilities in all.

Comandante Miguel Ochoa, prefect of Cautín Prefecture Service, told Radio Cooperativa that the masked men intimidated staff, removed them from the building, then proceeded to set fire to the facility.

Mapuche group pamphlet

A pamphlet from the Mapuche National Liberation Movement (LNM) was found at the site. It bore the words “Fuera piscicultura del Wallmapu” which translates to “Fish farms out of Wallmapu”, the name Mapuche nationalists use for the territory they wish to make an independent state.

The pamphlet also demanded the release of LNM member Nelson Queupil and other “PPM” (Presos politicos Mapuche, or Mapuche political prisoners).

The LNM is an armed group of the indigenous Mapuche people that operates in both Chile and Argentina. Its purpose is to fight for a Mapuche nation using armed struggle, something the group describes as “self-defence”.

Last year another Mapuche armed group, the Coordinadora Arauco-Malleco (CAM), urged supporters to “continue with the resistance and sabotage against, mainly, the forestry, hydroelectric, mining and salmon industries”.

Police check damage at the smolt facility.
Police check damage at the smolt facility.