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Chilean salmon industry controversy over the use of antibiotics

Staff writer |
The use of antibiotics in the Chilean salmon industry reached 557 tons in 2015, according to the latest report of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (SERNAPESCA).

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The figures, corresponding to 46 companies in the sector operating in both freshwater and the sea, pushed the consumption rate per ton of salmon to reach its highest point in the past nine years, with 660 grams per ton.

The amounts used in Chile, where it is delivered orally through feed and also as vaccines, are above those in other producing countries such as Norway, where the figure is less than one ton per year.

Christine Bornes, adviser to the Norwegian Food Safety Authority (FSA), said it is important to reduce its use due to the drug resistance that can be transferred to humans, she told La Tercera.

Paul Midtlyng, a researcher at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, pointed out that the reduction is related to fish vaccination. “We need to develop effective vaccines,” he warned, while acknowledging that it is not always easy, and it can be quite expensive.

After the high figures in the report, Alicia Gallardo (head of SERNAPESCA Animal Health Department) announced that SERNAPESCA will take additional measures to regulate antibiotics use. For example, the prohibition of the drugs in the quinolone group (flumequine and oxolinic acid) during the feedlot phase at sea will be set as there is no national surveillance program to verify the resistance.

In addition, in order to increase control of the treatments that each farming centre implements, the official said that the “retained prescription” system will be made enforceable for prescribing antimicrobial drugs.


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