Chile’s National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service, Sernapesca, has confirmed the escape of salmon with an average weight of 3.9 kilograms from farmer Caleta Bay, and it will file a complaint for the latter’s breach of environmental aquaculture regulation.

At the time of the escape, the center was in the final stage of the harvesting process and had already extracted a significant part of its production, Sernapesca said on its website.

Caleta Bay reported an escape of approximately 12,500 coho salmon from its San Antonio farming center, located in the Calbuco municipality in southern Chile’s Los Lagos region, according to local press reports. The company attributed the event to third parties and said it had reported the event to the competent authorities.

“The corresponding protocols and contingency plans were activated. Currently, we are working under the supervision of the authority on the recapture process, through which we expect to recover a significant percentage of the specimens,” Claudio Paz, deputy manager of Caleta Bay Authorities and Concessions, was quoted as saying.

However, according to Sernapesca, Caleta Bay confirmed the event only after two on-site inspections.

“At the site, the presence of salmonids was found on the outer perimeter of the center, and the breakage of one of the cages. Finally, after two inspections, the submission of a letter and the suspension of the harvesting process by Sernapesca, the owner of the center recognized the escape, which it attributed to sabotage by third parties,” the government service said.

Sernapesca clarified that the regulations require the owners of the farming centers to immediately inform Sernapesca and the Maritime Authority of the occurrence of a fish escape, as well as the activation of the contingency plan for the recovery of the specimens. The containment work and the recapture actions are made more difficult when this notification is delayed, for which the inspection body announced the filing of the complaint, and the aquaculture service reiterated its call for companies to comply with current regulations and notify these cases in a timely manner to the supervisory authority.

The majority of Caleta Bay’s products are exported to Japan (65 percent) and the U.S. and Canada (27 percent).  

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