Greenpeace has urged Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi to stop expanding its salmon farming operations in Magallanes, as part of its new global campaign focused on protecting the seas of Chilean Patagonia. The launch of the campaign, “Save the seas at the end of the world,” brought together people and activists who gathered in lighthouses along Chile's nearly 4,000 kilometres coastline to claim protection for ecosystems of the southern seas.
The main activity took place in the lighthouse of La Serena, with the presence of a hot air balloon that surprised tourists and carried a huge legend dedicated to the protection of the Magellan seas. The new Greenpeace campaign highlights the international organization's recognition of the importance that the waters of the Magallanes area represent for the global ecosystem.
Chile is home to 36% of the world's marine mammal diversity, which is why the protection of its seas is key and of great relevance to the entire planet. From today, our partners and sympathizers around the world become monitors of the seas at the end of the world, said Estefania Gonzalez, coordinator of Greenpeace Oceans in Chile.
Greenpeace warns that the seas at the end of the world are seriously threatened by the expansion of the salmon industry. It recalls that this sector already showed the devastating power that it can have on ecosystems with what happened last year in Chiloe, when the dumping of nearly 5,000 tons of rotten fish off its coasts brought about a red tide crisis that triggered one of the most serious social and environmental disasters in recent years in the country.
Greenpeace thus denounces that several salmon companies are now trying to move towards the Patagonia area. One of the companies named is Cermaq from Norway, which belongs to the Japanese economic giant Mitsubishi Group, and is the second exporter of Chilean salmon, with an annual output of 41,556 tons.
With a view to expansion and imminent danger, almost 100% of the company's applications, if approved, would be located in national reservation areas in Magallanes, warns Greenpeace.
What is at stake is the care of the most pristine waters of the planet. It is not possible that the interests of salmon companies are placed above an environmental heritage that belongs not only to Chile, but to the world, said Matias Asun, national director of Greenpeace in Chile.
He added, The Magallanes seas house fundamental ecosystems that also have a unique relationship with indigenous peoples, such as the Kawésqar and Selk'nam, as well as fishing communities that depend on the good health of their sea for their subsistence and cultural development.
In this context of ecosystems protection launched by Greenpeace, the Chilean dolphin has becomes iconic. The NGO points out that this species, which is natural to the area, is being affected by the antibiotics used massively by Chilean salmon farming, according to scientific research. Matias Asun warned that the threat could increase significantly since its habitat is precisely where they now want to settle the salmon farms in Magallanes region.
Asun stressed that other species, such as whales, dolphins, penguins, sea lions and various birds that inhabit an area of National Parks and Reserves increasingly valued by national and international tourists are at risk. (FIS)