September 1, 2008


Chile to take concrete steps in reducing antibiotics in aquaculture


The international marine conservation organization, Oceana, has hailed an announcement made by the Chilean government to reduce the use of antibiotics in salmon farming.


The Salmon Task Force, led by the Chilean Minister of Economy, aims to identify the problems affecting salmon farming and possible solutions.


The second report by the committee detailed the measures to be adopted to address the sanitary crisis that has affected the salmon sector this year.


The report includes, among other measures, the creation of a plan by December 2008 to reduce antibiotic use in the salmon industry. The report indicates that the group has accepted Oceana's proposal to create a plan outlining a decrease in the use of these chemicals.


Chile's aquaculture industry uses more than 200 tonnes of antibiotics a year, an amount the environmental organization says is excessive.


''The announcement made by the Salmon Task Force is a first step toward reducing the use of antibiotics in the salmon industry, " stated Alex Muñoz, Oceana's Executive Director. The group called for antibiotics from the quinolone family to be banned and only permit the use of approved antibiotics for treatment, never for prevention.


The definition of concrete objectives for the reduction plan would be worked on in October, with stakeholder discussions in November, and the release of the reduction plan in December 2008.


Oceana also criticized the Chilean government for its continued support for the expansion of the salmon farming industry while aquaculture-related legislation is under revision.


Presently, 1,083 requests for salmon concessions are in processing in the Magallanes Region, more than 25 times the region's current number of awarded salmon concessions.

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