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Boycott Warning to Salmon Industry

by Ellen Hardy
11 March 2008, at 12:00am

CHILE - A group of Chilean and Patagonian fishermen have warned of an international boycott against Chilean salmon if the expansion in country's fish farming industry is not halted.

The Aysén, Reigon XI, Association of Artisan Fishing Organizations (AGOPA)has not called on the Chilean president Michelle Bachelet to end the expansion of an industry they claim is environmentally flawed.

In a public statement, the fishermen said they were launching a moratorium on the expansion.

Published in the Santiago Times, the statement says: "Starting today, March 7, 2008, the Aysén Artisan Fishermen are launching the Moratorium on the Expansion of the Salmon Industry Campaign, asking the media to report on the environmental situation the salmon industry created in Region X as well as the effects it’s also having on our region."

An association of 16 fishermen groups from Chilean Patagonia is calling on President Michelle Bachelet to freeze expansion of Chile’s lucrative but environmentally-suspect farmed salmon industry.

The report says the president elect Bachelet, two years ago promised to end the distribution of concessions for largescale farming "until studies are conducted to determine exactly how much (fish farming) the waters and ecosystems can handle."

However, the fishermen now claim that no study has been conducted and the environmental problems in the area have been made worse.

"If in the next two months the government doesn't declare the moratorium it already promised, the artisan fishermen will be obliged to immediately implement actions and campaigns in Chile and abroad to generate a boycott of Chilean salmon," AGOPA announced in the Santiago Times.

The fishermen together with labour and environmental groups have been campaigning against the way the salmon industry has treated workers and the environment – principally in Region X.

They say that highly concentrated fish farms create tremendous amounts of organic pollution (feces and excess feed) that create “dead zones” in the surrounding waters.

View the Santiago Times story by clicking here.

Ellen Hardy