Chilean government, salmon farmers join forces in push to reduce antibiotics usage

Representatives of Chile's salmon industry at the launch of the "Yelcho Project"
Representatives of Chile's salmon industry at the launch of the "Yelcho Project" | Photo courtesy of Sernapesca
6 Min

Eleven salmon farmers in Chile, together with the Salmon Council, SalmonChile's Salmon Technological Institute (Intesal) and with the support of Aquabench, have joined forces with the Chilean government’s Agricultural and Livestock Service (SAG) and the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (Sernapesca) to work collaboratively towards increasing vaccines to prevent bacterial diseases and reduce the use of antibiotics.

The parties hailed the so-called “Yelcho Project” as the first public-private partnership of its kind between salmon companies, SAG, and Sernapesca. The salmon farmers participating include Aquachile, Australis Mar, Blumar, Camanchaca, Cermaq, Cultivos Yadran, Marine Farm, Mowi, Multi X, Salmones Austral, Ventisqueros, and Aquabench, which account for nearly 90 percent of Atlantic salmon production in Chile.

Decreasing the use of antibiotics has been a goal for Chile’s salmon-farming industry for years. Farmers were able to lower antimicrobial use nearly 32 percent in 2022, according to 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 – the lowest rate posted since Sernapesca began tracking ICA data in 2007.

The agreement outlines six strategic pillars: consideration of parameters established under the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) and the National Antimicrobial Resistance (RAM) plan for salmon production processes; significant reduction in the use of drugs, particularly antibiotics; review of regulations and new ...

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