Crisis in Chiloé, Chile as thousands of marine life wash ashore

Crisis in Chiloé, Chile as thousands of marine life wash ashore

Chiloé Island in Chile is currently facing a crisis and one of the stranger environmental disasters Chile has seen in the past few years. In the last month alone, thousands of marine animals including birds, crabs and seals have washed ashore, dead, on Chiloé’s beaches along  a phenomenon known as ‘red tide’, or toxic algal blooms.

Activists and researchers from Greenpeace Chile have traveled to the island to document the social and environmental crisis caused by this mass mortality of marine life. In solidarity with the fishermen and affected communities, they are calling for an investigation and demanding transparency for those affected in the region.

This comes after 5 tons of rotting salmon were thrown out from the farming centers in the Los Lagos region only 75 nautical miles away from Ancud city, (on the largest island of the Chiloé Archipelago).

Chiloé Island, Chile,  © Alejandro Olivares / Greenpeace

Fishermen on the island are protesting the lack of information and lack of assistance from the government amidst this crisis. Chiloé has been blocked from the mainland by the fishermen who are demanding compensation for losing their livelihood. Andrés, a local shellfisherman explained, “right now, we feel many mixed feelings—sadness, bitterness, helplessness […] Here, tons of salmon were dumped, on top of chemicals that were used to get rid of the smell. Tell me, does this not cause harm?”

There is evidence of the negative effects caused by the salmon farming industry (such as the high presence of antibiotics and chemicals, discharge of waste in the sea).

The current scenario has hugely impacted all aspects of life for the local community and the environment, and nobody has been identified as responsible so far.

The local community and Greenpeace Chile are still waiting for an official response against the crisis and a long term plan.

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Source: Green peace

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