Salmon sector to use Chinese technology against harmful algae

[Chile, China] The technique, known as flocculation, was able to convert green microalgae-laden water into clear crystal water in China, and now SalmonChile is trying to implement it in the south.

In 2008, at the Olympic Games with which China managed to impress the world, authorities took a striking decision to ensure the quality and purity of its water during water competitions. Thanks to technology known as flocculation, organizers of the Beijing event managed, within a few hours, to convert totally green water bodies, due to microalgae, into crystalline water.

And that same technique is the one the Chilean salmon industry intends to use to combat, among other things, the harmful algae bloom that last year meant the loss of 39,000 tonnes of salmon.

According to David Farcas, general manager of the research laboratory for the Centrovet agricultural and veterinary industry, the project started some time ago when they were approached from the Technical Institute of Salmon (INTESAL), SalmonChile’s technical branch, with the idea of adapting the patented technique by Chinese scientists for the Chilean industry.

“It is a question of using clay, which is a natural component of the sea, to capture microalgae and finally eliminate it. The technology developed by the Oceanographic Institute of China consists in modifying the electrical charge of the clay surface in such a way that when it contacts the microalgae, it sticks and then sinks into the sea floor, where it can not develop due to the lack of oxygen in the depth,” explains Farcas.

Operational by 2018

Thanks to the joint work between Centrovet and INTESAL, the latest tests of the technology are currently being carried out in the United States to validate the best way to use the clay and to specifically control the microalgae that have affected the local salmon industry.

“The idea is that it is a solution to Chile’s specific problems, so we have to get approvals from environmental authorities, which we hope will materialize in 2018,” says David Farcas.

The expert comments that the intention is to incorporate the respective governmental entities (SAG, IFOPSERNAPESCA) to the process, since the technology also has the potential to mitigate the algae blooms on mussel farming and artisanal fishing.

“The idea is that this technology can effectively help reduce the risk of algae blooms, along with other technology that is being implemented by salmon companies to monitor and mitigate the impact of microalgae,” concludes the general manager of Centrovet.


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