An estimated 149,000 salmon that were being transported to a site of Nova Austral located in the Magallanes Region of Chile, to be stocked, presumably died because of a toxic microalga.The company's general manager, Nicos Nicolaides, said that the death of 105,000 fish of 210 grams that were transported by the ship Don Pedro and another 44,000 fish of 420 grams carried by the ship Maria Ines, occurred near Gulf Penas.
Samplings by experts indicate that the cause of the death could be the very toxic microalgae called Karenia, that caused great damage to the industry.
A ship carrying Australia harvest to Calbuco also had great mortality, the businessman told La Prensa Austral.
As all smolts of Nova Austral arrived dead, the National Service of Fisheries and Aquaculture (SERNAPESCA) activated the protocol for such situations.
The vessel Maria Ines, which reported the mortality while sailing in the Gulf, was ordered to return north, to unload the cargo to the recycling plant of Fiordo Austral in Calbuco, the businessman said.
The company estimates that its losses amount to about US$ 390,000.
As a result of this incident, Nova Austral S.A. suspended salmon stocking in its centres, until they are certain that the mentioned algae has disappeared. Meanwhile, SERNAPESCA reported that it has already begun an investigation into the alleged presence of toxic microalgae in the Gulf Penas.
Preventively, fishermen are advised to avoid passing through the affected area or, if it is unavoidable, they are recommended to do so with a closed system (without recirculating water), in order to reduce the risk of mortality of the fish they carry. (FIS).