Chile has had an intense month of June concerning the sanctioning processes of overproduction in which companies such as Cermaq, Trusal, Salmones Camanchaca, or Salmones Porvenir have been mentioned in charges against them by the Superintendencia del Medio Ambiente (SMA).
The reason why overproduction in large numbers is a problem can be summarized in the environmental impacts, especially significant if we are talking about protected areas where some Chilean salmon farms are. For example, the oxygen demand in marine ecosystems creates issues by generating anaerobic conditions. Furthermore, the utilization of chemicals and antibiotics poses a threat to biodiversity, leading to imbalances in the natural environment. And finally, among other highlights is that massive concentrations of fish increase the risk of mass escapes… These are just a few examples of a long list of ways in which overproduction can endanger an entire ecosystem.
For these reasons, the National System of Information on Environmental Audits (Snifa) of the SMA pursues those facts that may affect the natural environment. As a result, two complaints were raised involving Cermaq Chile, Trusal, Salmones Porvenir, and Salmones Camanchaca. These complaints were related to various activities associated with overproduction in the salmon industry between 2018 and 2020.
Cermaq, Trusal and Salmones Porvenir
In this case, the three companies are all facing the same complaint due to their interconnectedness at the Juan Island location. During that time, Trusal, a subsidiary of Salmones Austral, possessed the aquaculture concession, while Cermaq Chile was the lessee of the facility. However, it is crucial to highlight that Salmones Porvenir assumed control of the farm in August 2021, making them also responsible for the sanctions imposed.
Thus, on June 13, the SMA presented the sanction being the complainant Sernapesca for overproduction. “The production of the salmon fattening center exceeded between 1,092 and 1,093 tons, the maximum limit authorized in its RCA N°175/2014 during the 2018-2020 production cycle,” reported the complaint.
Such are the figures that in the sanction these data correspond to a severe sanction.
June 12 was the effective date of the sanction letter issued to Salmones Camanchaca, and more specifically, at the Leucayec salmonid fattening center.
Once again, denounced by Sernapesca, in the complaint, they referred to the severe fault by which they would have exceeded the authorized production of 5,000 tons by 727.7 tons more. It is explained that the “overproduction during the productive cycle carried out between March 13, 2019, and July 04, 2020.”
Both companies will now need to present data to determine whether overproduction has occurred or not. However, the legislative trajectory suggests that Chile is intensifying its monitoring of environmental impact.
There is now policy with greater focus on the environment
Chile has historically had low funding for biodiversity. Nevertheless, since 2022 those figures have changed, and the Ministry of Environment, presided by María Rojas, achieved a new financial report that substantially increased funding.
Consequently, following recent proposals like the SBAP bill, which sparked controversy, there has been a growing emphasis on environmental concerns, particularly regarding industries such as salmon farming located in protected areas.
Cermaq is a leading global producer of sustainable salmon and trout with operations in Chile, Canada, and Norway. Headquartered in Oslo, Norway, the company supplies salmon in more than 70 countries around the world. Its goal is to drive the transition of the food system towards healthier and climate-friendly food.
About Trusal of Salmones Austral
The merger of Trusal and Pacific Star formed Salmones Austral in 2013. Now, it has more than 1,600 workers who operate in two processing plants and 33 freshwater farming centers and seawater. There are plants in Biobío, La Araucanía, Los Lagos, and Aysén regions.
About Salmones Camanchaca
Salmones Camanchaca is leading producer, specializing in breeding, egg production, and updating hatcheries for Atlantic salmon, Coho salmon, and trout. They also excel in primary and secondary processing and marketing, and sales of premium salmon. With a strong presence in key markets, we operate five sales offices to cater to our valued customers.