Marine Harvest ASA, the world's largest salmon company announced this week that they are seriously considering moving part of their salmon farming interests following a serious outbreak of Infectious Salmon Anemia, ISA.
The company's performance in the third quarter has been seriously hit by the losses caused by the highly contagious ISA that has been extending to many Chilean salmon farms. The disease entails no danger to humans but can be lethal for fish. Marine Harvest ASA is planning to move the farms to another Chilean region where no traces of the disease have been reported. "We're still producing in the XI Region but we are considering moving to Region XII", said Marine Harvest president Leif Frode Onarheim. However, the Norwegian businessman said that the farm with the outbreak was rather isolated and the risk of contagion to other farms, "hopefully in minimum". "We're not hiding the fact that the situation is challenging and what has happened is not funny", he added. Chilean authorities revealed that Marine Harvest does not have licences to operate in Region XII. The Norwegian company said that they have plans to purchase licences in Region XII and gradually move there, "which will require additional investments". Marine Harvest operates in Chile under the name of Mainstream-Cermaq. The ISA outbreak is the first detected outside Region X, which is where Chile's 2.4 billion US dollars salmon farming industry is mostly concentrated. News of this latest ISA outbreak did not go unnoticed by the various NGOs – Pure Salmon Campain, Terram, Oceana and others – that regularly criticize the salmon industries on environmental and labor grounds. "This just makes it all the more clear that expanding the industry (toward the south) means expanding these series health issues," said Oceana economist Cristián Gutiérrez
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