Blumar takes $8.5m hit from harmful algal bloom

Chilean salmon farmer Blumar is taking stock of the impact of a recent harmful algal bloom which killed over 3,000 tons of its fish, estimating a direct financial loss of US$ 8.5 million.
Aerial view of a Blumar salmon farming facility.

Aerial view of a Blumar salmon farming facility.

Photo: Blumar.

Chilean salmon farming giant Blumar has released further information detailing the financial loss incurred after a harmful algal bloom (HAB) struck its operations in the Aysén region last week.

Blumar, together with AquaChile, first reported the harmful microalgae Pseudochattonella had been detected at one of its fish farming sites north of Isla Victoria, in Concessions Group (ACS) No. 22b, on 2 January.

Blumar has extracted all fish killed by algae, and is now proceeding with accelerated harvest of remaining salmon

In an official statement submitted to Chile's financial regulator, the Financial Market Commission, and reported in Chilean press including La Tercera, Blumar CEO Gerardo Balbontín said that by 6 January, all of the dead salmon had been extracted from the affected site, in compliance with government regulations.

"We can report that on January 6, 100% of the mortality affected by the aforementioned bloom was extracted, for which 3 deep sea fishing vessels (PAM) were used plus the support of 3 barges, in addition to multiple human resources and technical, all of which made it possible to extract all of the affected biomass, complying in a timely manner with current regulations," Balbontín said, in a Spanish language statement.

Meanwhile, the remaining live fish is being harvested early from the sites, with the process expected to be completed over the coming days.

Balbontín said that determining the precise number of fish killed by the HAB event would only be possible once the harvest is completed. However, the company estimates the resulting mortality is approximately 3,100 metric tons.

This level of mortality, Balbontín said, "would generate to the company an estimated direct financial loss of US$ 8.5 million, net of compensation for compromised insurance, which is activated, and whose deductibles have already been fully applied for this estimated calculation."

Impact on other salmon producers in the Aysén region of Chile still unknown

The salmon farmer AquaChile also registered mortalities due to the harmful algal bloom in early January, but the company has not yet released further information about the impact on its operations.

Neighbouring operators Mowi and Multi X also reported the presence of algae near their sites, but did not report mortalities at the time. Neither company have released any further information as yet.

By 5 January, Chile's National Fisheries and Aquacuture Service Sernapesca said that 3,800 metric tons of fish have been lost due to the HAB event.

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