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Early alarm system set after algae bloom cuts Chilean salmon output by up to 25%.

Early Alarm System Set After Algae Bloom Cuts Chilean Salmon Output By Up to 25%

The Association of Chilean Salmon Farmers has instituted a system to help detect and cope with damaging algae blooms. The plan was devised after a heavy concentration of tiny, chlorophyl-producing marine plant organisms last fall delayed the 1988-89 Puerto Montt salmon season by two weeks, affecting an estimated 20% to 25% of production.

Fortunately, survival rates were higher than early expectations, or final harvest projections would have been worse. The 32-member Association's output for the November-April season about to end should hit 5,000 metric tons of Coho and 600 mt of Atlantic Salmon. Approximately 2,500 mt will be exported to markets in the United States and Canada, with most of the rest going to Japan and Europe.

The bloom detection program is thought to be an unusually open one in a competitive industry where the increasing density of fish farming operations has caused heightened concerns about balancing environmental needs with the desire to boost production and sales. The plan calls for a close watch on waters surrounding fish farm operations, and for specific measures to combat algae blooms and other aqua-culture-related natural hazards.

"Our early warning system works on several levels, from water samples taken at pen sites and analyzed at a central lab, to a coordinated effort by the merchant marine, Air Force and Navy who survey the area," said Fernando Klimpel, the association's marketing manager.

Results of lab tests, as well as red tide positions and projected drifts, meteorological forescasts and other relevant data are collected and disseminated through an association-wide network. The following systematic measures will be taken if a future outbreak is detected:

. Reduce, or if necessary, stop feeding entirely.

. Tow pens to safer waters.

. Reduce aeration of water surrounding pens to discourage algae growth.

. Increase water brackishness.

. Lower pens to below the surface of the water.

. Reduce fish density within the pens.

"We believe that by working together we can significantly protect our production and export quotas," said Klimpel.

PHOTO : Fernando Klimpel, Marketing Manager, Chilean Salmon Farmers Association.
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Title Annotation:QFFI's Global Seafood Magazine
Publication:Quick Frozen Foods International
Date:Apr 1, 1989
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