Chilean Salmon Council commits to “being a benchmark for innovation”
The board of directors of the new Chilean Salmon Council – formed in May between AquaChile and Salmones Aysén, as well as the local units of Cermaq and Mowi – recently met with Chilean Minister of Economy Lucas Palacios and Undersecretary of Fisheries Román Zelaya.
During the meeting, the salmon farmers said their companies “commit to being a benchmark for innovation, with absolute adherence to current regulations, free competition rules, and of course, respect for our employees and the communities where we are inserted," according to a release from the Chilean Salmon Council.
The Salmon Council directors – Fernando Villarroel, CEO of MOWI in Chile; Pablo Baraona, president of Salmones Aysén; Sady Delgado, CEO of AquaChile; and Steven Rafferty, CEO of Cermaq – expressed that the reason for bringing the four firms together was to strengthen salmon farming in the country, initiating a new phase that promotes a global, long-term perspective in protecting environmental health and promoting competitiveness.
"We believe that the time has come that given the magnitude of this industry and the contribution it means for the country, we can contribute even more in the strategic guidelines for Chile, considering our national and international experience," the directors said.
The statement comes just days after it was announced that Chile’s Council for the Defense of the State (CDE as per its initials in Spanish) filed a criminal lawsuit against five executives of the salmon farmer Nova Austral for reporting false mortality figures and causing damage to hydrobiological resources from the introduction of polluting agents last year.
While Nova Austral does not belong to the newly formed Salmon Council, the situation shows the delicate balance that exists between salmon farming in many of southern Chile’s pristine areas and their social license to operate.
In related news, the agriculture committee in Chile’s lower house of congress recently approved a bill that would expand the Ministry of Agriculture’s reach to include food and rural development, thereby assuming control of the Sub-Secretary of Fisheries and Aquaculture (Subpesca) and the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (Sernapesca).
Both fishing authorities are currently under the umbrella of the Ministry of Economy. While actors in the fishing industry generally agreed that the move would be positive, they questioned the timing of the bill and the way it was approached, saying their opinions were not taken into consideration in the writing up of this bill.
Photo courtesy of Chilean Salmon Marketing Council