Chile is implementing an early alert system to detect Red Tide (mr-SAT) that should be operational beginning January 2008 was announced Wednesday by the country's National Fisheries Service (SERNAPESCA).
The research and development behind the system was carried out by the Laboratory of Marine Toxins from the University of Chile School of Medicine and conducted by scientist Benjamin Suarez in the framework of a project entitled "Research, Information Technology, and local skills for improved decision-making regarding Red Tide." The mr-SAT system manages data from the Live Bivalve Mollusc Health Programme (PSMB) of SERNAPESCA and makes it available for up-to-date reference on the internet. Through the system, health authorities expect to stay up-to-date with the latest information on tested samples carried out in specific farming areas, even as the data itself is being processed at national laboratories. Data will be made accessible through the internet using a combination of technologies that include geographic information systems (GIS), interactive maps of various mussel farm sites and "pdf" files listing the current status of national production activities. In the future, the system may also incorporate emailing and cellular text messaging capabilities. Victor Contreras, manager of the Information Technology model's design and implementation, emphasised that "the basic perk to the system is that no more time will be wasted; it will enhance production efficiency and contribute to consumer's health and providing reliably support the export business." Essential to the system's development was a "detailed study performed of the industry in Chile as well as in Europe, for well grounded knowledge on how to confront these issues from prominent aquaculture nations" added Contreras. The project should be fully implemented by January, Contreras said Chile with one of the world's longest coastline recurrently suffers from red tide outbreaks endangering consumers and causing significant losses to the fisheries industry