Several companies linked to the Chilean salmon farming industry in Puerto Montt presented a project to reduce antibiotics use in the sector, a practice that for a while now has generated strong opposition from environmental organizations worldwide.
Apart from the bad image that it represents for the country, it is estimated that the high use of antibiotics to reduce salmon mortalities in farming centers costs the Chilean salmon farming industry more than USD 58 million a year, according to El Mercurio.
The aim of the project, called Pincoy, is to define a common strategy addressing the entire production cycle, with the goal that by 2018 the sector will have managed to halve the amount of drugs used.
The program was presented yesterday by the firms Skretting, AquaGen/Blue Genomics, Pharmaq, Centrovet, Cermaq, Blumar and Ventisqueros, and will be supported by SalmonChile and the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (SERNAPESCA).
The main reason behind the project is to address the Septic Rickettsial Syndrome (SRS), since vaccines are inefficient for the treatment of this disease.
According to SERNAPESCA, the SRS was responsible in 2015 for almost 80 per cent of mortality from the use of antibiotics in Chile.
What is sought with Pincoy program is not only to improve fish health, but also the productive performance of the industry to ensure that growth is sustainable.
“The main objective of Pincoy is to reduce the amount of antibiotics used for salmon production in the Chilean industry, and we hope that by 2018 this figure will have dropped to half of what we currently have,” said Ronald Barlow, general manager of Skretting . And he emphasized that this implies facing a collaborative challenge to improve fish performance.
For its part, SERNAPESCA Aquaculture deputy director said Pincoy program is closely aligned with the policy being promoted by the Government to reduce the use of antimicrobials considering not only the disease but also prevention, control and collaboration among the companies.
The program will begin to be implemented during the second half of this year in some centres, and it is expected the first results will be available in early 2018.