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Salmon company pollutes and destroys lake on the island of Chiloe (Chile)

November 10, 2002

The firm Salmones Unimarc, property of Inversiones Errazuriz, has completely destroyed Auquilda Lake (located 12 kilometers northeast of the city of Castro on the Island of Chiloe), and has currently been summoned and accused by the Consejo de Defensa del Estado (Council for the Defense of the State), with a summary proceeding titled “Reparation and Indemnity of Harm from Environmental Damage.”
Salmones Unimarc, propery of Francisco Javier Errazuriz Talavera, has maintained intensive salmon farming operations for more than a decade, leading to a serious Hyper Eutrification (*) process and the complete death of Auquilda Lake. Over several years, the company violated the law and environmental standards, exceeding the load limit established by the Ministry of Economy for this lake in Chiloe more than 107 times. With the backing of technical and scientific studies carried out by the Instituto de Zoología (Zoology Institute) of the Universidad Austral de Chile (Southern University of Chile), (November 2001), the University demonstrated that the intensive cultivation of salmonids caused, and to this day continues to result in a serious contribution of phosphorous and nitrogen at levels that exceed the parameters established by law. This has led to irreversible damage to the water and its aquatic life, in addition to rendering this body of water useless for human consumption or tourist activities. On October 25th, in Santiago, the firm was notified by means of a precautionary measure, which ordered the “immediate suspension of aquaculture activities in Auquilda Lake.”

Without a doubt, this event proves that salmon farming activities can and do cause grave damage to the environment; and that current measures of control do not adequately fulfill the role of protecting public use assets that belong to all Chileans.

(*) Eutrification: “The characteristic of a mass of water that consists of disposing an excess of nutrients and plants, coming from agricultural fertilizers and other human activities,” which causes “a rapid growth of aquatic plants, algae, the grayish green coloration of the water, the production of bad odors, lack of sunlight on the lake’s bottom and a dimunition in the concentration of dissolved air, producing

the death of plankton, fish and destruction of the food chain.”
(Diccionario de Geografía Física y Ciencias. Editorial Jurídica.
Santiago 1999; y el Smithsonian Tropical Resource Institute).

To obtain additional information, contact:
Tel. (56-65) 258145
Casilla Postal 876 Puerto Montt - Chile
Now..Geo Austral Radio FM 101.5


Pat Rasmussen
Leavenworth Audubon Adopt-a-Forest
PO Box 154
Peshastin, WA 98847
Phone: 509-548-7640

From GeoAustral in Pueto Montt, Chile:

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