Protecting Patagonia - Oceana USA
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May 13, 2008

Protecting Patagonia


Oceana has ambitious plans to protect one of nature’s most biologically rich places, Chilean Patagonia. Whether you’ve seen pictures or read stories about Antarctica’s closest neighbor, it’s evident that Patagonia is a very special place. We’re asking supporters to help us raise $20k in May to protect Patagonia. As an ecosystem, Patagonia is subject to economic, environmental and social challenges that can be very difficult to balance. One threat in particular affects you and your dinner plate: salmon aquaculture. Although salmon farming aims to increase the amount of salmon in the marketplace its inherent drawbacks cannot be ignored.In 2007, 688,000 tons of salmon were commercially bred, developed and harvested for market. The industry is growing too, with Chile’s share valued at a staggering $2.2 billion annually. What are the risks presented by salmon farming?• It adds pollution – Antibiotics used to treat fish, uneaten fish meal, and scat are directly fed into the water and each contributes to the deterioration of Patagonia’s pristine channels and fjords.• It introduces an invasive species – Salmon are carnivores, native to the northern hemisphere, so when they escape from their holding pens (think human error and earthquakes), they threaten to interfere with the balance of the native ecosystem and food web.• It jeopardizes this pristine wilderness – Like putting a factory in a playground, salmon farms are a visual blight to Patagonia. As the industry grows, we want to prevent the area from turning into an industrial production lot.In order to limit the growth of salmon farming and other harmful activities, Oceana is Oceana is working with stakeholders in Patagonia to develop a plan for Marine Protected Areas. We are performing scientific, economic and social studies in the region and have already earned the support of other NGO’s, local fishermen and politicians. I encourage everybody to join the effort to ensure Patagonia’s beauty and diversity.