Chile’s national fishing authority Sernapesca has identified the presence of the heart and skeletal muscle inflammation virus, or HSMI, in the local salmon industry, paper Diario Financiero reported Tuesday.
Chile’s farmed-salmon and trout industry, one of the world’s largest, has only recently recovered from the ISA virus — infectious salmon anemia — which hit Chile in 2007 and worsened in late 2008. The ISA virus crippled Chile’s salmon industry, squeezing producers and cutting exports.
Mortality rates among fish hit by the HSMI virus — which is also present in the world’s premier salmon exporter: Norway — vary between 1%-3%, which is much lower than the 50%-60% mortality rates associated with the ISA virus, Diario Financiero reported.
Although authorities’ initial investigation discovered the presence of the HSMI virus in ten salt-water farmed-salmon operations, none of the fish were actually infected or had died because of it, the local paper said.
Authorities, which also recently discovered the presence of the HSMI virus in a fresh-water farmed-salmon operation, said they will ramp up oversight of the industry to prevent the virus from spreading.
Chilean producers are on pace to export a record $3 billion this year, equivalent to around 500,000 metric tons in salmon exports.
The Andean nation’s largest farmed salmon producers include Australis Seafoods SA (AUSTRALIS.SN), Empresas AquaChile SA (AQUACHILE.SN), Multiexport Foods SA (MULTIFOOD.SN), Invertec Pesquera Mar de Chiloe SA (INVERMAR.SN), and Compania Pesquera Camanchaca SA (CAMANCHAC.SN).