During the last decade, Chile has become the world’s largest producer of salmon. But this productive boom has generated a series of environmental consequences, particularly the contamination of fragile ecosystems with highly-polluting organic salmon waste. Moreover, although employment has increased at the industry level due to employment opportunities in salmon |processing, fishermen have been displaced from their traditional fishing grounds, generating a series of social problems.

 

Algae are natural biofilters and absorb nutrients. We propose to introduce seaweed cultivation in and around a salmon-farm, to demonstrate the environmental benefit of seaweed as natural biofilters, thus reducing the environmental impact of salmon-farming, maintaining biodiversity and reducing other algae blooms. Moreover the cultivation of brown seaweed, reduces the demand for natural seaweed extraction by abalone cultivators, which also reduce biodiversity and affects the feeding grounds of the biomass captured by artesanal fisherman.

 

Seaweed cultivation requires low cost technology. We will demonstrate and train previous artisanal fishermen in seaweed culture. By showing the potential business possibilities we propose to establish integrated aquaculture systems as a viable economic activity and a way of naturally reducing environmental impact. Moreover this new economic activity will provide income and employment opportunities for local communities.

Objectives: 

To pilot a low cost bioremediation system of seaweed culture to deal with salmon-farm organic waste and generate new employment opportunities for displaced fishermen.

Rationale: 
During the last decade, Chile has become the world’s largest producer of salmon. But this productive boom has generated a series of environmental consequences, particularly the contamination of fragile ecosystems with highly-polluting organic salmon waste. Moreover, although employment has increased at the industry level due to employment opportunities in salmon |processing, fishermen have been displaced from their traditional fishing grounds, generating a series of social problems.
Innovation / Expected Results: 

Existing approaches to address problems of salmon waste are generally inappropriate in the developing country context. On the one hand, “farm rotation” methods inadequately address environmental concerns while “open pen” production is extremely costly. This project will pilot a seaweed bioremediation effort that will make salmon-farming cost-effective, profitable and environmentally-sound. Seaweed will be introduced into the salmon production system and will act as natural biofilters, cleaning the ecosystem by absorbing the organic waste produced by salmon farms. Seaweed cultivation requires low investment and operational costs, and moreover, there is a growing market for seaweed products. Artisanal fish farmers will benefit from improved salmon production and the additional economic opportunity created by seaweed production.