Better Salmon Farming Techniques Would Protect Chile's Patagonian Lakes
A new WWF study finds that the production of farmed salmon in Chile's unique
Patagonian lakes has doubled in recent years, contaminating them with
nutrient pollution, invasive species, disease, and harmful chemicals. The
study urges the Chilean industry to move salmon smolt production out of
freshwater ecosystems to closed-containment recirculation systems on land.
This move would reduce environmental pressures and increase Chile's
competitiveness in the global salmon trade. The majority of salmon consumed
in the U.S. is farmed, and the bulk of it comes from Chile.
"These lakes are a global treasure and pollution from salmon farming is completely avoidable," said David Tecklin, WWF representative in Chile. "Every day, more consumers and major buyers become aware of the sources of their food. After decades of exponential growth, Chile has become the world's second largest producer of farmed salmon but the industry must rapidly improve its environmental practices if it expects to survive in the global marketplace."
Over the last 25 years, in an effort to replicate salmon's natural lifecycle, the salmon industry has used Chile's freshwater lakes to produce salmon "smolt" (large juvenile fish), which are later transported to marine sites to mature. Smolt production has become -- along with urban sewage -- the most significant point source of pollution for Chile's unique and pristine freshwater lakes.
The study found that total smolt production in Chile's freshwater systems has increased exponentially over the last several years. In 1998, 91 million smolt were produced in Chile's freshwater ecosystems. In 2005, approximately 293 million smolt were produced.
In order to sustain these production levels while maintaining the ecological integrity of Chile's freshwater systems, especially lakes, smolt production must move to land-based systems, according to the report. Such systems are widely used in other salmon producing countries and have been adopted by some companies in Chile. The state-of-the-art technology is based on closed-containment recirculation systems. A complete transition from lakes to this type of facility is estimated to require an investment of approximately $43 million -- which represents only 2 percent of the value of Chile's total salmon exports in 2006.
"Closed-containment recirculation systems will minimize the negative environmental impacts of the freshwater stages of salmon production, and will also result in faster salmon growth rates, lower mortality rates, and will reduce the need for chemicals to control disease," said Jorge Leon, WWF consultant and co-author of the report: Salmon Farming in the Lakes of Southern Chile - Valdivian Ecoregion: History, Tendencies, and Environmental Impacts. "Chile has become a world leader in salmon production, providing both a challenge and a great opportunity to demonstrate environmental leadership. Transitioning smolt production out of lakes is one very important first step in this process"
"This study is part of a global effort WWF has with the salmon industry, other NGOs, governments, scientists, and other stakeholders to identify key impacts of salmon farming and to develop performance-based standards," said Jason Clay, Vice-President of Markets and Agriculture at WWF. "The implementation of these standards will result in better zoning for salmon operations, fewer salmon 'escapes' into waterways, a healthier environment, and reduced antibiotic and chemical use. Together, these measures will ensure that salmon remains a safe source of protein for human consumption."
The salmon industry in Chile provides an estimated 45,000 jobs, and salmon has become one of the country's major exports after copper and timber. Over the last fifteen years, total salmon production has increased ten fold, reaching a total of 378,000 tons worth $2.2 billion in 2006.
"Adopting better practices in the salmon farming industry will be a win-win situation for all: consumers looking for healthy products derived from good environmental and social practices; salmon producers and people whose jobs depend on this sector; and Chilean society as a whole as it restores and conserves unique freshwater and marine ecosystems," added Tecklin.
See more from Science and Technology
Other Pages You Might Enjoy...
The Meissen Porcelain Manufactory
For more than 300 years the Meissen Porcelain Manufactory has been a central figure in European porcelain. It was at Meissen that the first true hard-paste porcelain was manufactured outside of China, and the story of that accomplishment has the high drama of fiction - all the more intriguing because it is true.
Pirated Glassware that Collectors Want to Own
The 1996 discovery of what is believed to be the wreckage of Blackbeard’s ship Queen Anne’s Revenge, is providing historians and collectors new information about the fragile and transparent objects that came onto the North American Continent before arrival of the first piece of cut glass.
Collecting Antique Furniture
Of all the collectible antiques, the broad category of furniture is perhaps the most widely held and most satisfying. Frequently handed down through generations, the various chairs, tables, cabinets and other pieces are often in use, adding character and constancy to our daily lives. This guide includes an overview of the significant styles and historical periods, and other important information for collectors.
Collecting Antique Clocks and Watches
Information for collectors of antique clocks and watches. Includes a history of clock and watchmaking, an overview of styles, and important terminology.
Collecting Antique Jewelry
Embodying the wealth and treasure of bygone days, the antique jewelry pieces available today include some of the world's most valuable artifacts. Includes a history of jewelry making, an overview of the major historical periods, and a glossary of antique jewelry terminology.
Researchers Crash Through Solar Efficiency Barriers
Funded by a U.S. government research grant, a consortium led by the University of Delaware is making great strides forward in solar electric generation and is well on it's way to achieving it's goal of 50 percent efficiency.
Plan Ahead for a Happy and Healthy Summer Wedding
We plan our weddings for months, sometimes years, to get every detail right. The bridal gown, bridesmaids dresses, color themes, music, food – nothing is left to chance. But take steps to make sure that your happy day is a healthy day, too. From managing stress to beating the summer heat, it takes good planning to ensure a healthy wedding.
Cafe Boogaloo, Brass Monkey, and Vibrato are Top Voted Los Angeles Nightspots
Zagat Survey has announced the results of its 2007-08 Los Angeles Nightlife survey. The results are based on the collective opinions of 3,115 avid, local late-nighters who went out an average of 1.8 times per week, which is roughly 291,000 nights of market research.
Avoid Injuries and Stay Safe While Enjoying Backcountry Hiking
Members of the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees (CNPSR) bring you five survival tips for safer hiking. From proper planning to knowing what to do in an emergency, you can enjoy adventure and be safe too!
Wood Floor Installation Methods
Several options are available for installing wood floors, including nail down, glue down and floating.
Education and Assessment Help Protect Pets From Disease Risks
Pets can be exposed to illness causing organisms in many common areas such as parks, backyards and even inside the home. Fortunately, disease risks can be reduced through pet owner education, wellness exams and risk assessment from a veterinarian.
Bring Your Web Site to Life With PHP
PHP is the scripting language that powers some of the biggest Web 2.0 content providers in the business. Whether you're looking to add a simple feedback form to your site, or have your heart set on building the next Facebook, read up on PHP in this informative tutorial and get started tonight.