A review of the environmental effects and alternative production strategies of marine aquaculture in Chile

Buschmann A.H.

Keywords: chile, marine, zone, management, impact, environment, algae, fish, coastal, aquaculture, farming, production, waste, environmental, industrial, effects, techniques, practice, aquacultural


In Chile, fish, mussel and seaweed cultivation has expanded significantly over the last decade. This review considers the accumulated knowledge on the environmental effects of aquaculture in Chilean coastal areas, analyses the capacity of the industry to treat its waste and also gives some insight into new culture technologies and strategies that are currently under research and discussion in Chile. Data relating to the environmental impact of aquaculture in Chile are scarce and much is subject to severe methodological restrictions with regard to sampling design. Results related to the environmental effects show that seaweed cultivation can have an impact on sedimentation processes, increase of invertebrate assemblages and algal epiphytic abundances. It has also been ascertained that mollusc farming causes biodeposition, faunal changes and possible effects related to the introduction of new species, as well as pathogens and other unforeseen species. It has been affirmed that fish cultivation, in particular that of salmon species, also has an environmental impact related to organic sedimentation and changes in the fauna. However, these results indicate that, in general, the current dynamics of bays and fjords seem to be an important factor for the environmental sustainability of the salmon culture areas. Salmon cultivation has also been associated with phytoplankton blooms, but this point was not supported by a monitoring programme in southern Chile. Furthermore, there is concern related to new pathogen introduction and therapeutical applications to the fish cultures, and further research is required in this field. Regulations to protect the environment from the consequences of aquaculture activities have been adopted during the last couple of years. © 1996 Elsevier Science B.V. The main regulations are provided by international market standards. Nevertheless, these regulations can only be effective if other human activities, such as urban discharge, intensive agriculture fertilisation and pesticide utilisation, are taken into consideration, in an integrated perspective. On the other hand, the Chilean salmon farming industry in particular, would be in a position to cover the costs involved in the treatment of waste waters, if feeding management were improved in the future. Finally, active research is currently being undertaken into new cultivation strategies, such as the use of integrated cultivation and the recycling of nutrient-rich waters, which should permit the diversification of this economic activity in Chile, while minimising the environmental impact.

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Volumen: 15
Número: 6
Fecha de publicación: 1996
Página de inicio: 397
Página final: 421
URL: http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?eid=2-s2.0-0030431926&partnerID=q2rCbXpz