SANTIAGO – Marine conservation organization Oceana welcomed the new report issued by the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (Sernapesca) on the use of antibiotics in Chilean salmon farms in 2015. The report reveals that companies used 557 tons of antibiotics, including more detailed figures from 22 of the 25 firms with farms in the ocean. Oceana also called for increased transparency in data disclosure about the amount and types of antibiotics used, disaggregated by firm and farm, since the contents revealed are insufficient to thoroughly analyze the actual operation of this industry.
“Undoubtedly, the report recently issued by Sernapesca is a step forward. Comparing these 22 companies, we find that by every ton of farmed salmons some use as much as 10 times more antibiotics than others. However, data are still missing to conduct a solid evaluation of this industry’s operation“, stated Liesbeth van der Meer, interim executive director of Oceana Chile.
The figure on antibiotics used in the “Report on the Use of Antimicrobials in Salmon Farming in 2015” reveals a rolling and disproportionate increase in the use of antimicrobials, reaching an historical record of 660 gr of antibiotics by ton of produced biomass. This means double than what was used five years ago.
Increased citizen demand to revert the lack of transparency in the industry resulted in a report which, for the first time, reveals detailed information on 22 of the 25 companies with farms in the ocean –accounting for 88% of all companies. Still missing, however, is disaggregated information on the source by firm and farm of the 63 remaining tons from the global figure of 557 tons of antimicrobials. The companies that refused to disclose information where Invermar, Ice Val and Salmones de Chile S.A.
“We will follow-up closely the decisions by the Supreme Court of Justice and the Constitutional Court in the two information disclosure procedures we filed to access the complete and disaggregated figures of antibiotics used by firm and farm. Only then would we be able to adequately assess the operation of the salmon industry in Chile”, added van der Meer.
On May 31, the Court of Appeals of Santiago accepted Oceana’s claim and ordered Sernapesca to publish the information disaggregated by company –requested by Oceana in 2015– about antibiotics used by the salmon industry in Chile in 2014.
The award of the Court of Appeals was made public after 37 companies, Sernapesca and the Council for Transparency, refused to reveal such information on the grounds of “competitive and business risk” for companies. In a wide-ranging resolution, the Court qualified the decision by the Council of Transparency as “illegal”, further stating that the information requested by Oceana severely compromises public interest, hence its disclosure should prevail over the interests of salmon farms.
In addition, Oceana is part of another process before the Constitutional Court concerning a constitutional unenforceability requirement filed by Multiexport and 22 salmon companies in order to prevent the publication of information on antibiotics used disaggregated by firm between years 2009 and 2013, which was requested by Oceana in 2014.