Patagonian Lakes and Salmon
A new study finds that the production of farmed salmon in Chile’s Patagonian lakes has doubled in the last decade, contaminating them with nutrient pollution, invasive species, disease and harmful chemicals. The study urges the Chilean industry to move farmed salmon out of freshwater ecosystems to closed-containment recirculation systems on land.
Moving farmed salmon from freshwater lakes to land-based closed systems would reduce environmental pressures and increase Chile’s competitiveness in the global salmon trade. The majority of salmon consumed in the US, for example, is farmed, and the bulk of it comes from Chile.
In an effort to replicate salmon’s natural lifecycle, the salmon industry has used Chile’s freshwater lakes for the past 25 years to produce salmon smolt, which are later transported to marine sites to mature. Smolt production has become the most significant point source of pollution for Chile’s unique and pristine freshwater lakes.
The study found that total smolt production in Chile’s freshwater systems has increased exponentially over the last several years. In 1998, 91 million smolt were produced in Chile’s freshwater ecosystems. In 2005, approximately 293 million smolt were produced.
June 19, 2007 7:08 AM | Category: Fish