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Protecting Patagonian Seas from Salmon Farms

The Straight of Magellan in Chilean Patagonia (or Magallanes, as it’s known in Spanish) hosts the largest number of natural protected areas in the country. Permanent snow feeds the idyllic landscape, which has been shaped by glaciers, lakes, rivers and seas. Within its bounds live protected species—blue whales, sperm whales, Magellanic penguins, elephant seals, leatherback turtles, and southern and Chilean dolphins.

The cold waters of this far corner of the world are pristine; this makes them more sensitive to high-impact human activities. And now they’re being stressed by the arrival of salmon farms, which have already caused severe environmental damage in regions further north.

In Chile, the salmon industry uses harmful techniques and operates without proper regulation. Its rapid growth has overwhelmed coastal waters, filling them with huge amounts of antibiotics, chemicals, and salmon feces. These pollutants have led to partial or, in some places, complete lack of oxygen in the water, threating all forms of marine life.

Large salmon farms in the Magallanes region are already causing big damage. According to a government audit, more than half of the salmon farms operating there are affecting the availability of oxygen in the water, a condition that did not occur prior to their arrival.

What AIDA is doing: 

  • We filed a complaint with the Chilean Superintendent of the Environment, responsible for ensuring that businesses comply with environmental permits to prevent harm to the country’s natural heritage. We have asked the government to: investigate the environmental damage the salmon industry is causing in the Magallanes region; sanction the companies that create the damage by failing to comply with environmental regulations.
  • We alerted authorities in charge of six international treaties to the damages the salmon industry is causing to Chilean Patagonia, and requested that they visit the Magallanes region to investigate the impacts and urge the Chilean government to protect the region.
  • Leading a communications campaign to raise national and international awareness of the serious risks the salmon industry poses to the Magallanes region and to all the seas of Patagonia. 

The Latest

Oceans | 24 September 2018

Calling on Chile to stop salmon industry’s impact on Patagonia

AIDA alerted six international treaties to the damages the salmon industry is causing to Chilean Patagonia, and requested that they visit the Magallanes region to investigate the impacts and urge the...read more

Oceans, Toxic Pollution | 25 January 2018

Salmon farms in Chilean Patagonia approved without adequate environmental evaluation

A study commissioned by AIDA found that more than half of the salmon farms currently operating in the Magallanes region of Southern Patagonia have generated a partial or total lack of oxygen in the...read more

Salmon farm

Oceans, Toxic Pollution | 8 June 2017

Chilean chum: How eating salmon in the US hurts Patagonia’s coastal wildlife

Chile’s unregulated salmon industry has serious environmental side-effects.read more