Near the southernmost tip of the Americas, blue whales, Chilean dolphins, penguins and elephant seals swim through deep blue fjords and into the open ocean. An idyllic Antarctic coastline stretches as far as the eye can see.
The isolation of this breathtaking stretch of Chile’s Southern Patagonia has thus far protected the Magallanes Region from development and commercial exploitation.
But a pink menace looms heavy on the horizon, threatening the very survival of life in these waters: farmed salmon.
Chile is the second largest producer of salmon in the world. The industry, which developed along coastlines further north, has long placed profits above environmental concerns, creating in its wake oceanic dead zones devoid of life.
The pristine conditions of the Magallanes Region make the ecosystems less resilient to human intervention than those further north. So it’s particularly worrisome that salmon farms have already begun working their way into this unique corner of Patagonia.
In the last two years, 81 percent of new salmon farm concessions in Chile have been located in Magallanes. Yet more than half of the farms operating there have already reported anaerobic conditions, leaving oxygen-less dead zones in the ocean, according to government reports.
Despite this salmon boom and the environmental problems it has caused, no complete study has been carried out on the impact the farms could have on this unspoiled wilderness.
With many more permits pending approval, the collapse of the region’s rich marine environment is an imminent risk.
YOU can help us protect the pristine waters of Patagonia!
Tell the Chilean government to enforce regulations on existing salmon farms in Magallanes, investigate their impacts, and sanction the companies responsible for any damages.