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Weekly Overview: Volcanic Eruption Causes Big Fish Kill in Chile

Trout Health Welfare +7 more

ANALYSIS - In this week's news, millions of farmed fish are thought to have been killed due to the recent eruptions of Calbuco volcano, close to Puerto Montt, Chile, last week.

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The National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (Sernapesca) stated that movement of 11.5 million salmon from 10 fish farms had been approved after the volcano, which has not erupted in 42 years, erupted on Wednesday 22 April.

José Miguel Burgos, National Director of Sernapesca, noted: "There are 11 fish farms located on lakes and two centers operating within the exclusion zone of 20 km."

There are also 11 fish farms in operation outside the area of 20 km that could also be affected by the eruption. Five of them are located on Lake Llanquihue.

Marine Harvest and SalmonChile both reported fish losses but that all its staff are safe and well.

Marine Harvest's two sites located within the 20 km exclusion zone were adversely effected.

The Rio Blanco fresh water hatchery handling eggs and producing fry and the Copihue broodstock facility lost 6.8 million fry, 2.4 million eyed eggs and around 3,700 broodstock.

Similarly, SalmonChile estimates losses of nine per cent of Atlantic salmon smolts and fry, three per cent of trout fry and smolts, around 3,800 thousand Atlantic salmon brood fish and 11,000 coho salmon brood fish.

Some aquaculture companies have yet to find out the full extent of the damage to their operations.

Regional Director of Sernapesca Los Lagos, Eduardo Aguilera, commented: "There are some areas which have reported substantial fish losses and there are others that have not yet been possible to establish what condition they are in due to the inability to access the site."

"In response to this, we have been working with the Ministry of Public Works to clear some routes and create access so that fish can be removed."