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Politicians Demand Immediate Crack Down on ISA

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

SANTIAGO - Chilean authorities are being urged to take tougher measures toward preventing the continuing spread of Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA). The highly contagious virus has caused major problems for Chiles US$2.2 billion farmed salmon industry and urgent action is needed say two of the county's senators.

Senators Antonio Horvath and Baldo Prokuria, both members of the center-right National Renovation (RN) party, have presented a bill before the Senate’s Fishing Committee asking that fines be increased against companies or individuals found responsible for allowing diseases such as ISA to spread. The bill also calls on government authorities to distinguish between minor and major transgressions.

According to reports in Santiago Times, the bill states that:

"The over-concentration (of the salmon industry) that has occurred in some areas of our country, principally in the Lakes Region (Region X), and the social, economic and environmental affects that have been caused by the proliferation of certain diseases such as ISA… make it necessary to guarantee legal measures that apply to everyone involved in the industry.

"In the case of ISA, the disease has cost the industry US$77 million in one year and left more than 1,000 people in the aforementioned region out of work.
"

Strict Requirements

The bill requires that any company planning to move fish from one zone to another must first pass through so-called 'sanitary barriers'. Fish, in other words, must be tested for diseases as well as parasites, such as Caligus (sea lice), which have also been a serious problem affecting Chilean farmed salmon and trout.

ISA was first detected in farmed salmon last July off the coast of Chiloé. It continues to spread among the area’s highly concentrated aquaculture centres.

Until recently the outbreak was thought to be contained within Region X, which houses the lion’s share of the industry. However, in December, the virus was detected on a fish farm in Region XI, an area also known as Aysén. The government’s National Fishing Service has since confirmed an outbreak of the disease on a second Aysén farm.

The discovery of ISA in Aysén is major blow for Chile's farmed salmon industry.

View the Santiago Times story by clicking here.

Ellen Hardy