Chile salmon industry swims against current

Updated 07 July 2017

Chile salmon industry swims against current

SANTIAGO: Salmon are leaping in their millions from Chilean fish farms to US, Japanese and European dining tables — but surging demand and environmental concerns have Chile wriggling on the hook.
The world’s second-biggest producer of the juicy pink fish after Norway, Chile earned $3.8 billion from farmed salmon last year — but campaigners warn the environment is paying a high cost.
“The demand for salmon is unsustainable,” said Liesbeth van der Meer, director of environmental group Oceana Chile.
“There is an ecological burden that the system can no longer endure. Beyond a certain quantity of salmon, it collapses.”
She calculates that for every 190 grams of salmon produced, a kilo of local fish is used to feed the farmed salmon. To make the industry sustainable, Chile should halve its current salmon production, she said.
Yet the industry estimates that demand for salmon is rising by 10 percent a year. And 70,000 jobs in Chile depend on it.
Last year, red algae infested the waters off southern Chile, killing other sea life. Environmentalists blamed it on waste emissions from fish farms.
The algae wiped out a fifth of Chile’s salmon production in 2016. It fell from 883,000 to 728,000 tons — most of that exported to the US, Europe, Brazil and Japan.
Chile’s size in the market is such that the fall contributed to a 40-percent rise in world salmon prices. Producers are recovering from that blow. But the president of the SalmonChile trade association, Felipe Sandoval, acknowledged they were taking measures to ensure medium- and long-term stability and to reduce costs.
Separately, the industry has been criticized for pumping antibiotics into the salmon, prompting warnings that this could promote drug-resistant super-bacteria.
In 2016 the Chilean salmon industry used 382.5 tons of antibiotics. That was 700 times the amount used in Norway.
The government in 2007 had to reduce the intensity of salmon farming due to an outbreak of infection. Any further health alerts will hit production, warned Eugenio Zamorano, head of aquaculture in the Fisheries Ministry.
But “if the health and environmental parameters are working, the industry can grow,” he told AFP.
New regulations affecting the fish farms will come into force in 2018 in response to weather phenomena in the Pacific that experts suspect are due to climate change. Compared to Chile’s two other major salmon-producing regions, Magallanes — the furthest to the south — has a relatively good level of environmental controls, without too many fish farms close together, the government says.
With cooler waters, farms in Magallanes use less than 1 percent of the antibiotics used in the other two regions, Aysen and Los Lagos.
“Magallanes offers a possibility for sustainable development” in salmon farming, said Zamorano.
The government’s aim, he said, is “to generate sustainable development of an economic activity that generates jobs and revenues.”


Kuwait MPs launch probe into Airbus deal

Updated 19 February 2020

Kuwait MPs launch probe into Airbus deal

  • The decision came after a debate on allegations that Airbus paid kickbacks to secure a deal 6 years ago
  • The parliament also asked the finance ministry to review recent aircraft deals involving state-owned Kuwait Airways

KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait's parliament on Wednesday formed a fact-finding panel to probe alleged kickbacks in a deal between the national carrier and Airbus, which last month paid massive fines to settle bribery scandals.
The parliament's decision came after a special debate on allegations that Airbus paid kickbacks to secure a 25-aircraft deal six years ago.
It also asked the Audit Bureau, the state accounting watchdog, to investigate the deal, which was reportedly worth billions of dollars, although exact figures were never released.
Kuwait Airway Co. in 2014 ordered 15 Airbus 320neo and 10 Airbus 350, with delivery beginning last year and continuing until 2021.
Opposition lawmaker Riyadh al-Adasani told the session that Kuwait was mentioned in a settlement struck by Airbus in a British court on January 31, along with the names of some Kuwaiti officials and citizens.
Under the settlement, Airbus agreed to pay 3.6 billion euros ($3.9 billion) in fines to Britain, France and the United States to settle corruption probes into some of its aircraft sales.
Days after the settlement, Sri Lanka ordered an investigation into a multi-billion dollar aircraft purchase from Airbus after the deal was named in the settlement.
The former chief of Sri Lankan Airlines, Kapila Chandrasena, was arrested on February 6 for allegedly receiving bribes relating to the deal.
Earlier this month, two senior officials of the Malaysia-based AirAsia stepped aside while authorities probe unusual payments at the carrier, as the fallout from the Airbus scandal reverberated across the industry.
Kuwait in recent years also initiated criminal investigations into two large military aircraft deals involving Airbus -- a $9 billion Eurofighter Typhoon warplanes deal and a contract for 30 Caracal military helicopters costing $1.2 billion.