IFOP confirms presence of harmful alga <em>Karenia cf. mikimotoi</em>, in the Golfo de Penas –Moraleda Channel
8 March, 2017

IFOP confirms presence of harmful alga Karenia cf. mikimotoi, in the Golfo de Penas –Moraleda Channel

March 9th, 2017 Periodista Gabriela.Gutiérrez

In a sampling carried out between February 16 and 24 on board the OPV-83 “Marinero Fuentealba” from the Chilean Navy. The INCAR is also working on samples collected during this cruise.

At the end of January 2017, mortality of thousands of salmon for fattening and adults occurred; they were being transported in wellboats sailing in the waters of the Golfo de Penas. Initially there were reports of a probable flowering of microalgae that generates toxins harmful to the fish, and tentatively the dinoflagellate Karenia mikimotoi was identified. The event activated the Servicio Nacional de Pesca y Acuicultura institution for setting up a monitoring and to look for antecedents that confirmed the presence of this microalga.

On February 16, the OPV-83 “Marinero Fuentealba” sailed from Punta Arenas with the mission of supporting the scientific team integrated by marine biologists: Luis Montecinos, Oliver Alarcón and Álvaro Araneda of the Interdisciplinary Center for Aquaculture Research INCAR; Hernán Pacheco of the Instituto de Fomento Pesquero (IFOP), Rosa Vega of the Dirección de Territorio Marítimo de la Armada, Ricardo Sáez and Francisco Calderón of the Servicio Nacional de Pesca y Acuicultura, Sernapesca.

During the 8 days of the cruise, oceanographic data collection and water samples were collected in a total of 21 sampling stations, to identify and quantify the present microalga, as well as to record data on physical variables such as wave height, meteorological conditions such as wind speed and direction, atmospheric pressure; and water samples were collected to estimate chlorophyll, toxin and nutrient concentrations. During the cruise, a preliminary observation was made through microscopy of the collected samples.


Kcf.mikimotoi in SNP6

IFOP analyst, Hernán Pacheco explained “Using the phytoplankton network, samples were taken in which Karenia cf mikimotoi cells were observed, corroborating the presence of this microalga in the Golfo de Penas and adjacent sectors. This reinforced the information that the Institute counts on the presence of this microalga, in addition to reiterate the presence of this dinoflagellate in the area of Tortel, in the southern sector of the Region of Aysén and in the extreme north of the region of Magallanes.”

Kcf mikimotoi in SNP8

At the time of writing this news, laboratory tests are still ongoing, whose results will be available in the coming weeks. The importance of improving the knowledge of the Golfo de Penas sector was highlighted, since because of its oceanographic characteristics, is an area with very little knowledge and very difficult access, which could be solved this time with the invaluable support of the Chilean Navy.
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