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Nova Austral resumes salmon smolt transfers after toxic algae clears

Transfers were stopped in February.

Chilean salmon company Nova Austral resumed full sea smolt transfers after a halt in operations put in place due to the mortalities caused by the toxic algae Karenia, detected in Magallanes in February.

Following the incident, Nova Austral stopped sea transfers, but restarted them gradually in February, Nicos Nicolaides, CEO of the company, told IntraFish.

“On Feb. 17, we began to transfer fish with many limitations,” Nicolaides said.

“We used a wellboat that was capable of sailing for a few days without replacing the water in the hold, in such way that it didn't have to circulate contaminated water.”

During these trips, the company had a scientist on board the wellboat to analyze the water, and samples showed clear results every day through Feb. 22.

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Later, the company carried out another trip with the same wellboat, which also showed clear results, and a third trip on March 23, during which the company could confirm the water in the route was clear of algae, Nicolaides said.

“We did a fourth trip but this time with a boat that couldn’t be closed for a long time, but was able to sail in open seas," he said.

"It traveled 80 miles off the coast and the smolts made it to the site without problems."

After the trials, the company decided to fully resume transfers, and has now four operative wellboats transferring smolts without issues, Nicolaides said.

The algae killed 149,000 Nova Austral smolts

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