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Oceana Hits Out at Delays in Curbs on Antibiotic Use

CHILE - The international marine conservation group, Oceana, has voiced its concerns that the Salmon Aquaculture Taskforce for Chile has not yet established a formula for reducing the use of antibiotics in farmed salmon.

The programme for the reduction in antibiotic use should have been in place by the end of June.

The task force was established by the Chilean Minister for the Economy, Hugo Lavados, to identify problems in the Chilean fish farming industry and to set out a programme to rectify the issues.

The taskforce was established at the beginning of June and was given 30 days to come forward with a report.

"It worries us that the Salmon Task Force has not complied with the terms laid out for it and the deadline they had set themselves," said Alex Muñoz, the vice president for Oceana South America.

"It is a bad sign because it shows that the government is not committed to solving these important environmental problems that have been caused by the salmon industry.

Both the credibility of the government and the salmon industry are at stake."

Oceana has also hit out at the task force for over its statement that the solution to the antibiotic problem would eventually be founds through good practice in the industry.

"The use of antibiotic cannot be allowed to remain in the hands of good practice or the will of the industry," said Sñr Muñoz.

"Chile needs strong regulations that will limit the use of these chemicals and prohibit the use of quinolones.

"Good practice can be complementary to regulation, but it cannot replace it."

Oceana claims that 200 tonnes of antibiotics are thrown to farmed salmon every year in Chile, while in Norway, the world's ;largest producer of farmed salmon, less than a tonne a year is used.