Salmon (Image grabbed from Reuters video)
A Chilean environmental court ordered the Norwegian-based Marine Harvest to cease operations for 30 days at their Punta Redonda Center in Chile after more than half a million salmon escaped in an episode Greenpeace is saying is the environmental equivalent of 140 million mice running through the streets of the capital.
“The impact is taking place in two areas. First, there is the impact to the health of people who may consume this salmon; they’ve already said that these salmon are not fit for human consumption,” said Greenpeace Oceans Campaign Coordinator Estefania Gonzalez. “But there is an even greater ecosystem damage which is much more dangerous. Because the salmon is not a native species to this area, what it does is eat and devour all the other species in the sea. It is a truly, truly highly destructive species. This is why we wanted to make the comparison that this (the salmon escape) is equivalent to having 140 million loose mice in the city of Santiago.”
On July 5, more than 600,000 salmon escaped the fish farm near the southern city of Calbuco after a storm damaged nine enclosures at Marine Harvest’s Punta Redonda Center.
Greenpeace expressed concern that some of the salmon are a non-native species that could devour a number of wild fish and seafood, and their decomposition could potentially trigger an outbreak of algae bloom.
Under Chilean law, the company has 30 days to recover the fish and has been working with local fisheries to do so.
On Monday, Chilean courts ordered the company to take additional measures to protect the environment, including flying over the region to search for dead fish, making a plan for the disposal of the dead fish, monitoring local rivers and reporting on their progress weekly.
Some of the salmon had been injected with a course of antibiotics that was incomplete at the time of their escape, making them unfit for human consumption and prompting concern by the environmental group that the fish will make it into the food chain too early.
“The antibiotics released in the sea is equivalent to what Norway uses in 4- years and here we have it just one escape. Therefore, the impact of this particular escape, added on to all the impact that the salmon farming industry is generating every single day polluting the water, adding chemicals, pesticides, feces, the increase of red tides, is something that our ecosystems cannot support,” added Gonzalez.
For years, Greenpeace has been fighting salmon fishing, saying it is destructive to other species and the natural ecosystem.
Marine Harvest has downplayed the threat posed to the environment by Florfenicol, the antibiotic injected into some of escaped salmon, saying that there was a little risk it could generate resistance in humans. — Reuters
Chilean court hears case of stolen statues, artifacts
A statue found in Schuler’s property in San Francisco de Mostazal, O’Higgins Region, Chile | REUTERS
A Chilean court on Thursday (December 20) heard a case against a businessman accused of hoarding statues, historic rifles and indigenous artifacts allegedly stolen from public parks, cemeteries and museums at his posh estate south of Santiago.
Raul Schuler, an agricultural entrepreneur from San Francisco de Mostazal, a small town ringed by wineries and fruit plantations, was charged with violating Chilean environmental laws that protect national monuments as well as regulations governing the possession of weapons, according to court filings.
Schuler could not be reached immediately for comment.
The loot discovered at the 74-year old business magnate’s estate included 13 pre-Columbian artifacts discovered in the piano room as well as fossils, pre-Columbian textiles, rifles from Chile’s War of the Pacific, ceramics and other indigenous artifacts from various regions of Chile.
Schuler also displayed twenty marble statues in courtyards at his home. Many had recently been on display in public spaces in Santiago.
The total haul was valued at around $400,000, according to court documents. — Reuters
New gamma ray observatory in Chile to be world’s biggest
Graphic representation of the future Cherenkov telescope array | REUTERS
The Chilean government signed an agreement on Wednesday (December 19) with the European Southern Observatory to construct a gamma ray observatory that will be 20 times larger and 10 times more sensitive than sites currently studying that particular form of energy.
The European Southern Observatory is a intergovernmental organisation that already operates a complex of astronomical observatories on Paranal hill in the Chile’s Atacama desert.
Andreas Reisenegger of Chile’s Pontifical Catholic University said the site was chosen to provide a direct view into the heart of our galaxy, the Milky Way.
Reisenegger also said the new gamma ray observatory may provide a glimpse into one of the universe’s greatest mysteries: dark matter. — Reuters
Deforestation in Brazil savannah ticked up in 2017 after 2016 drop
Trees in leafy area of savannah (Image grabbed from Reuters video)
Deforestation in Brazil’s vast savannah, which takes up 25 percent of the country, ticked up in 2017 after a sharp drop in 2016, the Environment Ministry said on Thursday (June 21), outpacing destruction of the Amazon rainforest.
Destruction of native vegetation in the region known as the Cerrado rose to 7,408 square km last year after falling 43 percent to 6,777 square km in 2016, data showed.
The Cerrado’s plant life is a major carbon sink and its preservation is considered vital to Brazilian efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.
Revised data from the Environment Ministry showed that deforestation of the Cerrado rose 10 percent in 2015 to 11,881 square km. The ministry’s last report on the biome had found that Brazil deforested an average 9,483 square km per year in the region between 2014 and 2015. — Reuters