Where Salmon Is King

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
14 February 2007, at 12:00am

CHILE - Near the southern tip of Chile, the Andes Mountains tumble spectacularly into the sea. These are some of the purest waters on the planet. Yet wherever you look in this distant region, you can't help noticing clusters of nets, buoys and platforms dotting the stunning coastline.

Salmon has become Chile's third-largest export. A $2 billion industry for this developing country, it is responsible for more than 50,000 jobs on farms and in processing factories. Environmentalists warn, however, that the rapid growth of the industry is an environmental mess in the making.

Thinking of having fish for dinner?

If salmon is on your menu it most likely came from here.

Those nets, buoys and platforms are called salmoneras. The best translation: salmon farms.

If you think the fish you buy at your local supermarket is caught by fishermen with big nets and long lines, look closely at the label. It likely says it came from a fish farm.

Aquaculture — or fish farming — is the farming of the future. The world's oceans simply can't supply enough wild fish to meet the demands of the 21st century. In a few years, half of the fish the world consumes will come from fish farms.

Most of the salmon the world eats already does. Only 30 percent of the salmon eaten today is caught in the wild.

To see the future of the world's fisheries up close we flew almost 5,000 miles south from Miami to Santiago, Chile and then to the fishing town of Puerto Montt where the salmon industry is centered. We then drove even further south. As we did it seemed that every bay, fjord and protected inlet in this magnificent landscape is dotted with the nets of salmoneras.

Source: ABC News