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Weekly Overview: HAB's Cause Huge Salmon Losses in Chile

8 March 2016, at 12:00am

ANALYSIS - Harmful Algal Blooms (HAB's) in southern Chile have so far caused the deaths of millions of salmon.

The Chilean Minister of Economy, Development and Tourism, Luis Felipe Céspedes, summoned an emergency meeting of the Undersecretariat of Fisheries and Aquaculture (Subpesca) and the National Fisheries and Aquaculture department (Sernapesca) to analyse the critical environmental situation caused by the HAB in the Los Lagos region (Region X), noting that it has killed over 24,000 tons of salmon so far.

Marine Harvest reported that at its operations in Los Lagos, 2.7 million out of 2.9 million fish have so far died due to the algal bloom and the remaining 0.2 million fish are also expected to be lost.

Continuing our Aquaculture 2016 coverage, Dr Carole Engle from Engle-Stone Aquatics, spoke to TheFishSite about the costs of health regulations to US fish farmers.

Aquaculture is a business and farmers must make sure they are not only environmentally sustainable but also economically sustainable, said Dr Engle.

One current economic challenge for farmers is the cost of government health regulations.

Government regulations are becoming more intense and tend to be increasing in costs, therefore taking more money away from farmers that they would have used for innovation.

During Dr Engle's talk on the costs of US health regulations to fish farmers, she noted that average regulatory costs for the US baitfish industry is a huge $150,000 per farm per year and $3,000 per acre.

The survey of US baitfish farms in 13 states conducted by Dr Engle and Jonathan van Senten also revealed that the amount and cost of health regulations on farms varies greatly in number by state.

Also speaking to TheFishSite at the show, Professor Simon Davies, Harper Adams University, UK, gave an update on fish nutrition research.

Prof Davies explained that research into fish nutrition has come a long way but that more research needs to be conducted into trace element nutrition, the use of single cell proteins, such as algae and yeast, as a balanced feed and the vitamin requirements of fish under different aquaculture systems.

More understanding is also needed into how plant based products effect the gut health and production of carnivorous fish.

There will be more coverage from the conference published on TheFishSite in the next week, including our video interviews on Zebrafish research and Asian and Brazilian aquaculture, so keep an eye out!

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