Report: Antibiotic Use in Chile's Farmed Salmon Industry 'Intensive'


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
August 27, 2008

A Chilean government task force cited the nation's $2.2 billion farmed salmon industry for the "intensive" use of antibiotics and recommended it be "streamlined" in a report it released yesterday, reports the Patagonia Times.

This is the second report the task force, headed by Minister of the Economy Hugo Lavados, has released since its formation in April. The group has pledged to strengthen the farmed salmon industry's regulatory guidelines.

The industry has been hit hard over the past year by the infectious salmon anemia virus, which has wiped out tens of thousands of fish. Some companies, including Norway-based Marine Harvest, have been forced to curb production and lay off workers as a result.

"This industry can only continue to grow and be successful if the private sector and the government maintain a constant effort to act together in a timely and responsible way," says Lavados. "The government, through the efforts [of the task force], recognizes that the salmon industry is a motor of growth for our country and a vital source of employment, especially in Regions X, XI and XII. And it must be developed in a sustainable and environmentally responsible way and meet international norms."

The environmental community applauded the task force's decision to aggressively address the use of antibiotics.

"The announcement made by the salmon task force is a first step toward reducing the use of antibiotics in the industry," says Alex Muñoz, Oceana's executive director. "Oceana has insisted on the urgent need to regulate these chemicals. These regulations should prohibit antibiotics from the quinolone family and only permit the use of approved antibiotics for treatment, never for prevention."

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