Farmed Salmon Research Center Opens in Chile
EWOS Innovations Chile, the research arm of aquaculture conglomerate Cermaq, has opened a state-of-the-art research lab near Puerto Montt, the first such facility in Chile.
The nation's largest fish feed supplier will use the lab to combat diseases and parasites through feed formulations instead of drugs.
"If you want to be a big player in the salmon industry, you have to do research," Javier Gonzalez, general manager of EWOS Innovation, told the Patagonia Times.
Norway-based Cermaq is also the parent company of Mainstream, one of Chile's biggest farmed salmon producers. Researchers at the new facility in Calbuco, southwest of Puerto Montt, are developing salmon feed formulations to boost the fish's immune resistance to parasites and disease.
Chile's farmed salmon industry has struggled over the past year with infectious salmon anemia (ISA), which sickened millions of fish and forced plant closures and job losses. Sea lice, a naturally occurring parasite, have also been the center of dispute between the industry and environmentalists both in Chile and Canada.
"If you ask me, the biggest problem for the industry is sea lice," Gonzalez told the newspaper. "They create a lot of stress on the fish and suppress their immune systems. If we are able to control the sea lice, we solve a lot of the problem. We don't really have too many alternatives to the drugs we're using, so we're looking at how we can reduce infestation through the feed we use."