After reporting a massive salmonid mortality in the Reloncavi estuary, Los Lagos region, Chile's National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (Sernapesca) has updated the information. According to the figures provided, a total of 486.4 tons of coho and trout have died, this is 1.62% of the total biomass of the area affected by the harmful algae problem (ACS 1), which amounts to 30,000 tons. Sernapesca also informed that the two farms affected with massive mortality belong to the companies Trusal (Salmones Austral) and Caleta Bay.
Yesterday we informed that up to thirteen salmon farms in the Reloncavi estuary area had reported the activation of the contingency plan for harmful algal blooms (HABs), after which only seven of them also activated their contingency plan for mass mortality associated with the presence of microalgae and, finally, Sernapesca determined that only two were actually in this condition.
Following today's update, the salmonid farming centers that maintain the contingency plans activated by HABs are nine, of which six are also with contingency plans for mass mortality, and there are still only two farms that are in this condition according to the analysis carried out.
Sernapesca also informed that it authorized the harvesting of salmonids in center 100503, which has the highest mortality (360 tons), and is currently in the process of harvesting the live fish. According to the 'List of salmonid aquaculture concessions by a grouping of concessions in Regions X, XI, and XII' of October 2023, center 100503 corresponds to a concession of Trusal (Salmones Austral).
Regarding the situation, the Regional Director of Sernapesca Los Lagos, Cristian Hudson, indicated that, of the total mortality, 356.5 tons have already been extracted. He also commented that they continue to monitor and control in coordination with the institutions that make up the Regional Environmental Contingencies Committee (CIICA). "In this line, as Sernapesca, we will keep track of daily mortalities from the farming centers to the final disposal points in order to ensure proper compliance with contingency plans," he said.
The harmful algal bloom at levels considered harmful to fish that currently affects the Reloncavi estuary corresponds to the microalgae Thalassiosira pseudonana, which does not correspond to the so-called red tide, and therefore does not affect bivalve mollusks or other fish.
Although the Chilean Fisheries Development Institute (IFOP) clarified that this bloom is due to the ideal conditions of light and nutrients in spring, which favors the increase of these microalgae, and not El Niño, public and private organizations remain alert for the potential impacts that have been warned of the presence of this climatic phenomenon that currently affects the north of Chile and could move to the southern zone causing environmental contingencies.