Journal Article

A review of the impacts of salmonid farming on marine coastal ecosystems in the southeast Pacific

Alejandro H. Buschmann, Verónica A. Riquelme, María C. Hernández-González, Daniel Varela, Jaime E. Jiménez, Luis A. Henríquez, Pedro A. Vergara, Ricardo Guíñez and Luis Filún

in ICES Journal of Marine Science

Published on behalf of ICES/CIEM

Volume 63, issue 7, pages 1338-1345
Published in print January 2006 | ISSN: 1054-3139
Published online January 2006 | e-ISSN: 1095-9289 | DOI:
A review of the impacts of salmonid farming on marine coastal ecosystems in the southeast Pacific

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The production of farmed salmonids in Chile reached 550 000 t in 2004. The industry is considered to be consolidated, but with potential for further expansion to the south into pristine coastal areas. The environmental impacts of the salmonid farming industry in Chile were reviewed in 1996, and evidence at that time did not suggest significant adverse effects. However, after almost ten years of sustained growth, current evidence indicates that significant loss of benthic biodiversity and localized changes in the physico-chemical properties of sediments have occurred in areas with salmonid farms. Furthermore, the presence of these farms significantly increases in pulses the density of dinoflagellates. Data suggest that escaped farmed fish may have an impact on native species, although their survival in the wild appears low. The abundance of omnivorous diving and carrion-feeding marine birds increased from twofold to fivefold in areas with salmon farms compared with control areas without them. It is urgent that an ecosystem approach be implemented to assess all impacts of salmonid farming on coastal ecosystems in southern Chile.

Keywords: biodiversity; Chile; environmental effects; fish escapees; nutrient loads; salmon culture

Journal Article.  3895 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Environmental Science ; Marine and Estuarine Biology

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