UN special rapporteur calls salmon farming a "main environmental threat" facing Chile

UN Human Rights Report calls for moratorium on new farming permits
A fish farm in southern Chile
A fish farm in southern Chile | Photo courtesy of Alexander Gold/Shutterstock
6 Min

A United Nations special rapporteur has recommended that Chile halt further salmon aquaculture expansion pending an independent scientific review of the industry’s adverse environmental impacts.

Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur David Boyd visited Chile from 3 to 12 May 2023 to examine whether Chile has ensured its citizens a right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment, to identify best practices, and to investigate the environmental challenges that the country faces. 

U.N. special rapporteurs conduct fact-finding missions to countries to investigate allegations of human rights violations. They can only visit countries that have agreed to invite them. Boyd was invited by Chile President Gabriel Boric, a leftist who has pushed to reform Chile's salmon-farming sector, which has faced increased regulatory pressure after a series of scandals that included the undereporting of environmental damage and salmon mortalities.

“Salmon farming is one of the main environmental threats facing Patagonia, especially the Kawésqar National Park, which is important for the conservation of diverse species and ecosystems, including 32 species of cetaceans,” Boyd's report, issued via the U.N. Human Rights Council, said.

During his visit, Boyd  .…

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