Chilean court orders disclosure of antibiotic use in farmed salmon

Erich Luening
August 09, 2016
By Erich Luening

A Chilean appeals court has ordered salmon producers in Chile to disclose details of antibiotic use to treat salmon rickettsial septicaemia (SRS) disease in farmed salmon.

            Salmon farmers in Chile, the world's second-largest producer of the fish, are using record levels of antibiotics to treat salmon, driving away some US retailers, reported Reuters.

            Earlier, 37 salmon producers, Chile’s fisheries body, Sernapesca, and Chile's transparency council have refused to disclose the details of antibiotic use in 2014 because doing so would pose a "competition and commercial risk" for the companies. The court’s decision on June 1 upholds a claim filed by the Oceana environmental group. The ruling requires Sernapesca to disaggregate the antibiotics use by company for 2014, said Reuters.

            "We expect this unequivocal ruling to set a precedent, that salmon farms comply with it, and that once and for all the use of antibiotics in Chilean salmon farming can be made transparent," said Liesbeth van der Meer of Oceana's Chile office.

            In 2014, Chilean farmers produced around 895,000 tonnes of fish and used 563,200 kilograms (1.2 million pounds) of antibiotics, said the news agency, citing government and industry data. Antibiotic use had risen 25 percent from 2013, it added.

            Sernapesca reportedly said  it "valued" the ruling, which "goes in the right direction regarding the transparency with which this industry should operate."

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