A storm sunk 16 cages at Blumar’s Caicura site last weekend and the company says it has enlisted more than 400 local fishermen to help recapture the fish, which averaged nearly 4 kg, over the next 30 days.
However, Chile’s National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (Sernapesca) has issued a warning not to eat or sell on any fish that are recaptured as they were undergoing treatment for piscirickettsiosis disease with the antimicrobial florfenicol at the time of the escape.
“When the fish are being treated they are not suitable for human consumption, so the recaptured fish must be sent to a rendering plant,” Sernapesca has warned.
Manager of Salmones Blumar, Pedro Pablo Laporte, saidthe exact scale of the escape is still unknown.
"The adverse weather conditions still do not allow us to check the metal cages, so we do not know precisely if the salmon are alive, dead, or escaped," he said earlier this week.