Developed by Intesal – SalmonChile’s Salmon Technology Institute – the new Salmon Science Plan aims to define a research baseline that establishes the impact of the activity in five key areas: biodiversity, seabed, oceanography and nutrients, coastal governance, and water resources.
“Currently, new information needs have arisen, both from the salmon farming sector and from the public, regarding the socio-environmental impacts of our activity”, emphasized the General Manager of Intesal, Esteban Ramírez, during the presentation of the plan.
This initiative of the institute, which depends on SalmonChile, aims to offer more and better answers from a scientific point of view to the challenges that the operation of the salmon farming sector faces on a daily basis in the South American country.
USD 5 million investment over 5 years
To find these answers, the Salmon Science Plan will seek to establish strategic alliances with researchers from universities and scientific institutions relevant to the study of aquaculture, both in Chile and abroad.
An ambitious objective that will have an investment of USD 5 million in 5 years – USD 1 million in 2023 – which represents a 150% increase in Intesal’s budget. This funding will be in addition to each SalmonChile partner company’s own investments in R&D&I, which amount to USD 10 million annually.
The first task of the new plan will be to identify in which of the key areas detected there is progress in research and in which there is not. This way, generating the necessary synergies to move forward with answers in all the areas defined as priorities will be possible.
Five key areas
As said, there are five key subjects in Intesal’s new Science Plan for Salmon Farming in Chile:
– Biodiversity: from salmonid escapes in specific ecosystems – Chile passed a law on the matter last January – to the use of pharmaceutical products in the sea, the plan will seek to establish the impact of the activity with a focus on other species.
– Seabed: in this case, the aim is to establish a baseline and better alternatives to figure out the impact and its extent, both in soft and hard bottoms, and understand when and how long it takes for these impacts to regenerate.
– Oceanography and Nutrients: through the companies’ collaboration and the data they provide, the plan will generate a database and analysis for a better understanding of the systems where aquaculture is developed.
– Coastal governance: the science plan will also attempt to estimate the productive, social, and environmental impact of eventual mergers, relocations, and new concession areas for salmon farming development in Chile.
– Water resources: Intesal’s plan will initiate research to determine the impact of fish farms on freshwater bodies, with a first project focused on the Araucanía Region.
Contributing to sustainability and knowledge
“The information that emerges through this work will be a relevant input both to contribute to the sustainability of the salmon farming sector as well as for the authorities, with regard to discussions on the regulatory frameworks that currently govern aquaculture”, said Arturo Clément, president of SalmonChile after the presentation of the new Science Plan for Salmon Farming.
Also participating in the event was José Maza, astronomer and Chilean National Prize for Exact Sciences, who highlighted the good development of salmon farming in Chile and recalled the interest of this industry not only for all the organizations that are part of this productive sector, but also for the whole country.
“In the last 30 years, the development has been extraordinary, we need this to be sustained over time and hopefully we can diversify and also grow. One can never say I’ve reached the ceiling and I’m staying here. I believe that we are just beginning”, said Maza.
The Salmon Technology Institute – Instituto Tecnológico del Salmón, Intesal SpA – belongs to the Chilean Salmon Industry Association, SalmonChile. It was created in 1995 with the purpose of providing scientific and technical support to the production and supply companies associated with the trade, which represents 70% of the total production and the entire Chilean salmon farming industry. In addition to promoting cooperation agreements for the protection of the environment, in its more than 25 years of history, Intesal has achieved important milestones such as the creation of the Protocols of Good Health Practices.