Chile exports more salmon to the United States than to any other country besides Japan, according to the New York Times, and now fish farms in Chile are threatened by a deadly virus.
Environmentalists and experts have been vocally critical of Chile, according to the article, as the virus has killed millions of its salmon. The disease is known as infectious salmon anemia (ISA).
The problem illustrates how crowded Chile's fish farms can be, which stresses the fish and makes them more susceptible to viruses.
But now, Chile has announced plans to improve the sanitary conditions of the salmon industry and cut back on the levels of antibiotics used to treat the fish.
Rodrigo Infante, the general manager of SalmonChile, an industry group, explains in the article that the drugs are administered to fight rickettsia, a bacteria carried by sea lice, a big problem for fish farms.
The Chilean government's efforts have been well received. Dr. Felipe C. Cabello, of New York Medical College in Valhalla, who has studied Chiles fishing industry, said in the article: This is a step in the right direction. He estimates that Chilean salmon producers use 70 to 300 times more antibiotics to produce a ton of salmon in Chile than their counterparts in Norway.
The more regulation at the source, the better, since the Times says the FDA does little screening here. The agency tested less than 2 percent of all seafood imports in 2006, and in 2007, according to the article, the FDA said it tested 40 samples of Chilean salmon, out of 114,320 net tons sent from Chile.
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