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Access to Chile Aquaculture Antibiotic Use Denied

Salmonids Health Sustainability +3 more

CHILE - Oceana has reported that the Transparency Council has decided to deny access to information about the amounts and types of antibiotics used by each farmed salmon company in Chile.

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This information was requested by the marine conservation organization, Oceana. The Council stated that the National Fishing Service is not required to provide information disaggregated by company as this would impair their competitive position in the markets.

Oceana submitted a judicial claim against the decision made by the Council before the Court of Appeals in Santiago.

“Transparency is the only way citizens have to know whether salmon farm practices have a negative impact on their health and the environment. We think it is a serious mistake that private commercial interests prevail over the protection of the fundamental rights of people,” stated Alex Muñoz, Vice President for Oceana in Chile.

Past July, Oceana resorted to the Transparency Council after 50 salmon farms refused to reveal the amounts and types of antibiotics used, claiming that they would be exposed to a “competitive and business risk”.

A report issued by the National Fishing Service revealed that Chilean salmon farms used, altogether, 450,700 kilograms of antibiotics in 2013, while in Norway, the world’s largest farmed salmon producer, used only 1,000 kilograms.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that overuse of antibiotics develops bacterial resistance among fish, which in turn can cause severe public health problems by leaving certain diseases that affect humans without treatment.

This is compounded by the pollution caused by salmon farms with other chemicals –such as anti-parasitic treatments- that result in severe damage to marine ecosystems, said Oceana.

“If an industry needs tons of antibiotics and other chemicals to operate, then it is simply unsustainable and the onset of a health crisis is only matter of time,” added Alex Muñoz.