is the second largest producer of salmon in the world. But these fish don’t occur there
naturally. Instead, the salmon swim within enclosed nets, often tightly packed together.
Kept off the country’s coastline, fish farms like these can pollute local
ecosystems, displace native fish species, introduce diseases, and affect artisanal
Over the last decade, the number of salmon farms has
skyrocketed. But in Patagonia, Chile has begun taking steps to protect some of
its wild waters from the farmed fish. WCS is commending the Chilean government
for keeping the salmon industry out of Tierra del Fuego and reducing the
practice in the Antarctica and Magellanes provinces.
“Chile has taken the right step in protecting invaluable
coastal resources off Tierra del Fuego and nearby areas,” said Barbara Saavedra,
Director of WCS’s Chile Programs. “These regions are home to rich
concentrations of wildlife whose needs are only beginning to be understood.”
At the southern tip of South America, albatross, penguins,
southern elephant seals, and many other species come to breed along the coasts.
Since 2009, WCS has been studying Chile’s marine ecosystems and advising
government officials on coastal zone planning.
Unfortunately, salmon farming still threatens other areas
within Patagonia. WCS is working with partner organizations to assess alternative
salmon farming techniques that might reduce the farms’ impact on these
environments. In addition to identifying coastal areas for future protection, WCS
conservationists are examining how salmon farming might affect the region’s burgeoning
For more information, see the press release.