Posted by: Bob Payne | August 31, 2011

Mapping the impact of salmon farming in southern Chile

Chile’s once-fledgling salmon aquaculture industry is now the second largest in the world. Since 1990, the industry has grown 24-fold and now annually exports more than half-a-million tons of fish worth billions of dollars, according to the Chilean government. But that massive economic growth has had equally massive environmental and social effects, say researchers. Today, the coast of southern Chile, where the aquaculture industry is based, has been altered by the introduction of exotic species of salmon, high levels of pollution, and the spread of parasites and diseases among the fish. And the influx of large, corporate-run salmon farms has transformed traditional fishing communities and drastically altered the livelihoods of independent fishermen.

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