Thursday, March 27, 2008

Great salmon problem in Chile

Salmon industry is third largest industry in Chile but this could all change very soon as a virus called infectious salmon anemia, or ISA, is killing millions of salmon in fish farms in Chile. This is mainly the result of breeding salmon in crowded underwater pens and serious lack of sanitary control in this South-American country.

As Felipe Cabello, a microbiologist at New York Medical College in Valhalla and specialist in Chile's fishing industry said: "Parasitic infections, viral infections, fungal infections are all disseminated when the fish are stressed and the centers are too close together."

This type of breeding is contaminating once-pristine waters and producing unhealthy fish which many of us eat. Luckily at this point experts say that the new virus is not harmful to humans. However if industry continues its current methods of fish breeding this could spell danger for not only Chile's waters and marine life that lives in them but for many consumers in US, Europe and Asia.

This latest outbreak has occurred after a rash of non-viral illnesses in recent years that the companies acknowledge have led them to use high levels of antibiotics. Researchers say the practice is widespread in the Chilean industry, which is a mix of international and Chilean producers. Some of those antibiotics, they say, are prohibited for use on animals in the United States.

Without proper sanitary control and necessary knowledge that goes with it, these sort of problems could be happening more often, in many parts of the world as industry always makes its way following high profits and often disregarding negative impact that goes with it.

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