Marine Harvest tests system to mitigate new algae bloom in Chile

[Chile] Norwegian salmon producer Marine Harvest spent $1.5 million to test at its Chilean operations a technology to mitigate a new potential algae bloom contagion, El Mercurio reported.

In an attempt to prevent the effects of a possible new bloom of algae, Marine Harvest has implemented in Chile a mitigation system that already has had positive results.

The new technology brought from Canada contemplates two types of filters to avoid the algae bloom.

The first is a physical barrier consisting of a 25-meter-high micro-bubble curtain surrounding the production center, which aims to limit the entrance of algae into the cages.

The second filter is a system that uptakes water through air below the cage. Its purpose is to disperse algae that have penetrated through the first barrier.

Marine Harvest spent $1.5 million on this technology.

The system has already had positive results in Marine Harvest Canada, where it was tested with different algae than the one that bloomed in Chile.

Marine Harvest’s deputy manager for the Los Lagos region, Ricardo Gantenbein, noted that, however, it is also necessary to be protected against possible blooms of other algae.

The new technology is being developed as a pilot plan at the firm’s Lincay fattening center in Chiloe and will be fully operational from January.

The scheme is expected to be implemented in five other farms by the firm.

Earlier this year, the company lost four million salmon during the contagion.

Meanwhile, an alert was triggered by an outbreak of the red tide toxin south of Arica and Parinacota region, El Mercurio also reported in a separate article.

The Magallanes and the Antarctic regions in southern Chile are requesting to evaluate the reopening of areas closed for the presence of red tide.

No technology currently available is able of getting rid completely of a contagion of the same magnitude and density of the one that took place last February, sources told Undercurrent News.

In November, Chilean fishery authorities presented a package of measures that aim to better handle massive fish die-offs should algal blooms like those experienced at the start of 2016.

Last February-March a contagion of toxic micro-algae decimated 40,000 metric tons of salmon, causing a loss of $500-600 million for Chilean producers.


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