Leonardo Nunez, Executive Director of IFOP explained that “Bloom affecting Los Lagos region is currently inside the outer sea between the southern extreme of Chiloe island and Los Molinos sector in the Region de Los Rios, at north of Valdivia river. Furthermore, it has intensified its presence in the extreme northeast and southeast of the Chiloe island (Quellón), entering through Chacao Channel and the Gulf of Corcovado, respectively. By the north, it has entered until Tubildad estero (Quemchi), being Seno Reloncaví free of this bloom, and also the estuary of the same name and the entire coast of the province of Palena.
Currently, there is no information about the magnitude of this bloom in the open ocean, however, the sampling at the coast have showed a high intensity, associated to very high levels of toxins in the shellfish”.
Dr. Leonardo Guzmán, IFOP Aquaculture Division Head explained, “this bloom of Alexandrium catenella is the first time being detected at the Pacific Ocean and it is the more intense ever registered at Chiloe island. The events provoked by these microalgae have been observed in Chiloe on year 2002, 2006 and 2009. The presence of A. catenella is associated to very favorable summer conditions, which makes easier the proliferation of noxious microalgae and the total phytoplankton.
During the same period, the records of Instituto de Fomento Pesquero have made possible to detect the noxious bloom of Protoceratium reticulatum at Reloncavi estuary, Dinophysis acuta at Pitipalena reef and Dinophysis acuminate in many sectors of inner sea of Chiloé and Aysen region. It is also considered the occasional bloom of Pseudochattonella cf. verruculosa, which seriously affected the salmon culture.
Weather conditions, both national and global, which are being influenced by El Niño 2015-16, one of the most strong in the last 50 years, are associated factors which make easier the existence of these proliferations.
Dr. Guzmán emphasized: “in the same way, the dumping of salmon at 130 km of Chiloe cost cannot be related with this bloom. While dumping took place, at least 2 components should be kept in mind, one phase is dissolution and the other phase is particulate, which is represented by the flesh of salmons. These both stages are biodegradable. The first one because of the big volume and the huge immensity of Pacific Ocean, the salmons tend to sink quickly; while during the particulate phase, the salmons tend to sink and being dragged to the north and the northwest, because of the prevailing winds during the dumping. This was simulated by recreating the same weather conditions at the moment of dumping. There were no signs of the waste dumped could have been dragged to the cost of Region de los Lagos.