Antimicrobial use in Chile’s salmon-farming industry dropped 32 percent in 2022

A salmon farm in Chile.

Chile’s salmon-farming industry lowered its antimicrobial use nearly 32 percent in 2022, according to the country’s National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (Sernapesca).

The industry’s antimicrobial consumption indicator (ICA) in 2021 was 470 grams per ton, while in 2022 it was 320 grams per ton, a decrease of 31.9 percent, Sernapesca’s 2022 Use of Antimicrobials in Salmon Farming report found. It is the lowest rate posted since Sernapesca began tracking ICA data in 2007.

“As a union we are very optimistic about the results given by Sernapesca, because we have noticed the work that the producing and supplying companies have done to reduce the use of antibiotics,” SalmonChile President Arturo Clément said. “The national salmon has many virtues, it is healthy and nutritious, so it is important to continue working in this line.”

In 2021, Chile's salmon farmers regressed in their effort to halve their antibiotics use by 2025 over 2018’s rate, hitting an ICA of 470 grams per ton, or used 463.4 metric tons (MT) of antimicrobials used on 985,958 MT of harvested biomass. In 2022, the industry used 341.5 metric tons of antimicrobials in producing 1,066,645 MT of fish.

Instituto Tecnológico del Salmón (Intesal) General Manager Esteban Ramírez said the results were welcomed after 2021’s step back.

“This report confirms the drop in the use of these in 2022, thus resuming the decline curve that had been interrupted in 2021, demonstrating the majority effort of salmon farming to return to said objective,” Ramírez said. “As Intesal, together with SalmonChile, we continue working to achieve the goal of the alliance we have with Monterey Bay Aquarium, which aims to reduce the use of these drugs by 50 percent.”

The lowest users of antimicrobials (for firms with at least five completed farming cycles) included Caleta Bay with an ICA of 16.1, Salmones Aysen (56.4), Australis Mar (138.1), Blumar (138.2), and Salmones de Chile (150.5).

The users of the most antimicrobials were Invermar with an ICA index of 1,013.71, Mowi Chile (574), Ventisqueros (531.1), AquaChile (495.1), and Camanchaca (482).

Photo courtesy of Adwo/Shutterstock


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