New partnership between SalmonChile, the Chilean Salmon Marketing Council and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, known as the Chilean Salmon Antibiotic Reduction Program (CSARP) announce initiative to reduce antibiotic usage in Salmon farms by 50%. Mowi’s Chilean operations will also participate in the initiative according to SalmonChile CEO Arturo Clement.
Members of the CSMC Chilean Salmon Marketing Council which include Cermaq Chile, MultiExport Foods, Australis, Salmones Camanchaca, Blumar, Ventisqueros, Salmones Austral, Marine Farm, Salmones Magallanes, and AgroSuper (which owns Aquachile, Los Fiordos, and Verlasso), have all pledged to pursue a 50 percent reduction in their use of antibiotics by 2025. The companies represent about 80 percent of the total production of salmon in Chile and have vowed to reduce their use of antibiotics and seek a “Good Alternative” rating from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program by 2025.
James Griffin executive director of the CSMC said “The issue of antibiotic use has been a major one for the Chilean salmon industry for years, and that when he took over as head of the marketing council in December 2017, curbing antibiotic use was a top priority for him, as a means to achieve higher recognition in Seafood Watch’s seafood ranking system, which rates seafood as either a “Best Choice,” a “Good Alternative,” or as food to “Avoid.”
Arturo Clement, president of SalmonChile, the trade group representing Chile’s salmon industry, said the sector had been working toward the announcement made at Seafood Expo North America for the past year.
“Never before has our industry made such a bold commitment,” Clement said. “We are excited to work together as an industry and with the Monterey Bay Aquarium to fulfill this extremely important goal. We have made significant advances in salmon farming over the past four years and always work to minimize the use of antibiotics. Collaborating to further this work is a major step we can take toward continuous and quantifiable improvement.”
Clement said the decision was made with an eye toward the preferences of the U.S. market, which is Chile’s top export destination for its salmon.
“We would like it to be the best choice for the U.S. consumer – we want to reach their highest expectations,” he told SeafoodSource. “They are asking for a sustainable product, and for that, we believe Monterey Bay Aquarium has enough confidence from consumer side to satisfy those demands. We are very confident in the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program, and we decided they would be a great partner to work together with. Everybody in the Chilean salmon industry is convinced this is the best way to get to more sustainable salmon for the future.
“The reason we chose to highlight the antibiotics issue is that it’s a big issue in our ratings system. If we can reduce antibiotics use, we can improve the sustainability of salmon coming from Chile. That will open up market access for companies that have made this very public and time-bound commitment to only buy from Seafood Watch ‘Good Alternative’ sources or better,” she said.
Griffin said “We already have companies in Chile with positive Seafood Watch ratings,” “It has been my dream to see Chile’s Seafood Watch rating, as a whole country, move in a positive direction. It’s a highlight of my career to be part of the effort to achieve this goal. In the coming years, this will be our focus, and U.S. consumers and the people of the Chilean Patagonia will benefit, but the ultimate beneficiary will be the ocean and ecology of such a pristine part of the world.”
James Griffin said members of SalmonChile only use antibiotics to treat salmonid rickettsial septicaemia (SRS) and that medicines are used only for animal welfare reasons.
“Our usage is completely complaint and ticks all five boxes on the [World Health Organization’s] guidance regarding antibiotic usage. When we use anitibiotics, we do so as responsibly as anybody in the world and in a way that’s completely compliant with both federal and global standards,” he said. “But we know we can do better.”
Jennifer Dianto Kemmerly, director of global fisheries and aquaculture at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, whose Seafood Watch program helps consumers and businesses choose sustainably fished and farmed seafood. said “A 50 percent reduction in antibiotic use, in concert with other improvements to the industry, could lead to a Good Alternative recommendation an Improvement on that scale is excellent news for Patagonia, and for everyone around the world who enjoys Chilean salmon. We’re proud to support this work and are hopeful to see real change along the way to our 2025 goal.”