FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dave Bard, 202.486.4426
Statement by Cristian Perez Munoz, Chilean representative, Pure Salmon Campaign
On the Slaughter of at Least One Million Farmed Salmon Contaminated By Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA)
Santiago, Chile A new report by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) detailing the slaughter of one million fish demonstrates that the outbreak of the highly contagious ISA is not an isolated or minor issue. Slaughter is the only recognized means of containing the virus. New reports from Sernapesca, the Chilean fisheries agency, confirmed that farmed salmon from Aguas Claras have also tested positive for ISA. Marine Harvest, the world's largest producer of farmed salmon, already announced infestation on a farm.
"These new reports raise frightening prospects. Can we expect more massive slaughters any day now?"
"Sernapesca appears baffled by the source of the outbreak, but has implemented a contingency plan to help control the disease. Despite an emergency harvest and slaughter, disinfection procedures and a 5 km radius quarantine zone, sea lice infestation may soon make matters worse. According to a Sernapesca officer, sea lice, acting as a vector of the disease, could help spread ISA to both farmed and wild fish. Since sea lice travel with a total disregard for government quarantine areas, the ISA problem has the potential to spread within the highly concentrated salmon farming region of Chiloe."
"This ISA outbreak highlights the flaws of open-net cage salmon farming. Closed containment technology would not only provide a much easier way to control ISA outbreaks, it would also stop sea lice infestations from destroying millions of fish. With fewer mortalities, closed containment would pay for itself."
- Marine Harvest and Aguas Claras salmon farms have both tested positive for ISA. Eight other farmed salmon companies have established quarantine zones for their fish.
- According to the OIE alert (based on official information submitted by the Chilean government): 1,933,000 fish can be affected by the ISA outbreak; 598,384 cases of the disease have already been reported; 220,000 fish have died; and 1,064,606 fish have already been slaughtered.
The Pure Salmon Campaign (www.puresalmon.org) is a global project of the National Environmental Trust. It has partners in the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia and Chile all working to improve the way salmon is produced.