Controversy continues against Canadian Cooke salmon farm and Norwegian Nova Austral: five centers in national parks would have expired

Six salmon centers are in an expiration situation within national parks, according to a report by NGO Terram.

Two of them are located in the Laguna San Rafael national parks, belonging to the Canadian company Cooke, three to Alberto de Agostini, in Nova Austral, from the capitals of Norway and the United States, and one in Isla Magdalena, from AquaChile.

The former was also sanctioned last October. On this occasion, the Third Environmental Court, based in Valdivia, accepted the request of the Superintendency for the Environment (SMA), which authorizes the partial halt of the activities related to the sowing process at the Huillines Salmon Fattening Center (CES) . located in Estero Cupquelán, within the San Rafael National Park, due to the imminent danger to the environment posed by the future farming of 170,000 salmon, considering that the aforementioned CES Huillines 3 has not been environmentally assessed .

Environmental impacts from salmon overproduction range from the generation of anaerobic (oxygen-free) conditions on the seabed; the use and abuse of chemicals and antibiotics; impacts of nutrient overload facilitating harmful algal blooms; and the well-known increased risk of massive salmon runaways.

Environmental impacts from salmon overproduction range from the generation of anaerobic (oxygen-free) conditions on the seabed; the use and abuse of chemicals and antibiotics; impacts of nutrient overload facilitating harmful algal blooms; and the well-known increased risk of massive salmon runaways.

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Public information

The list was drawn up on the basis of information from the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (SERNAPESCA) and the Undersecretary for the Armed Forces (SSFFAA) obtained through the Transparency Law, together with the information available on the web platforms of the Environmental Assessment Service (VAS). . and the SMA.

The six salmon concessions would have had grounds for expiry under Article 142 letter e) of the General Fisheries and Aquaculture Act (LGPA). It is a question of “not starting cultivation activities in the first year following the physical delivery of the concession, or rather suspending cultivation activities for more than two years without having the authorization of the SSFFAA to extend the term of said suspension of operations”.

The NGO also highlighted a “significant level of inefficiency and ineffectiveness in the coordination of the competent public bodies in the matter, which is expressed in files that have not been resolved by the SSFFAA for many years”.

“In addition to the above, the complaints made by SERNAPESCA to the SSFFAA, in the light of the data acquired, lack a clear and uniform criterion at the time of identifying the concessions that would have incurred causes of forfeiture”.

Source: Terram


In the case of Laguna San Rafael, according to data provided by the SSFFAA, the two Cooke concessions that SUBPESCA authorized to relocate on June 29, 2022 outside the Laguna San Rafael National Park, from ACS 25B to 25A, initially requested once extension of 16 April 2020, approved by the SSFFAA on 31 January 2022, respectively with resolutions no. 1084 and 1011.

In consideration of the fact that both centers suspended their activity for six years, between January 2012 and December 2017, the requests for extension of the deadline, being extemporaneous, do not allow its owner – Cooke Aquaculture – to evade the causes of forfeiture envisaged by art. 142 letter e) of the LGPA, so both concessions should be expired by the SSFFAA, according to Terram.

Similarly, none of the centers have an Environmental Qualification Resolution (RCA).

austral nova

Finally, Nova Austral has 6 CESs that have suspended operations for more than 24 months. Although all of them asked for an extension of the deadline to suspend operations according to the indications provided by the SSFFAA, three did so after running into revocation lawsuits (CES 120085, 120092 and 120097).

For its part, CES 120088 requested an extension of the deadline in the 24 month, for which it is up to SERNAPESCA and the SSFFAA to confirm the exact deadlines to determine their legal situation.

Of the three concessions detailed above which, according to the information obtained, incurred causes of forfeiture, only one of them (CES 120097) was reported by SERNAPESCA to the SSFFAA for this reason in 2016.

In the same year, SERNAPESCA also denounced the concession in which CES 120088 operates, while in 2019 it denounced the concession in which CES 120090 operates, which according to information from the SSFFAA, would have requested an extension of the deadline to suspend operations shortly before incurring in reason of expiration, which shows the lack of coordination between the two organizations, according to Terram.


In light of the context, Terram has made a number of recommendations to remedy the situation.

The first is that the SSFFAA expires the six concessions located within National Parks which, according to all the information available to date, incur causes of forfeiture, including the two concessions that SUBPESCA has authorized to relocate outside the National Park Laguna San Rafael, and together with this, clarifies the situation of CES 110842 and 120088, which, as they have been exposed, present particular complexities that need to be confirmed.

“It is important to bear in mind that the application of the law and the expiry of these concessions will not have significant effects on employment, since for ten years none of these centers has carried out more than two production cycles, and these functions correspond to fixed-term contracts and not to permanent jobs,” the NGO said.

Secondly, it asked SUBPESCA not to approve new relocation projects in progress until the legal situation of the cases presented here has been resolved, both due to the occurrence of causes of forfeiture, and for circumvention of the Environmental Impact Assessment System ( EIA), where applicable. .

“It should be noted that, in compliance with the provisions of article 11 letter d) of law no. 19.300, said projects for the relocation of salmon farming centers which intend to settle within or in areas adjacent to protected areas, must enter SEIA through the Environmental Impact Study (VIA)”, explained Terram.

Thirdly, the NGO asked the SMA to promptly start the sanctioning procedures against those centers that do not have RCAs and that have an approved (CES 110225 and 110295) or pending (CES 110849) relocation request, in the case to confirm that their holders have made changes to their respective technical designs without entering SEIA.

Finally, Terram asked SERNAPESCA and the SSFFAA to “adapt their internal operating criteria, by virtue of the application of current legislation, regarding monitoring, reporting and resolution of the expiry of concessions that have incurred one of the causes established by law “.

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