Chilean salmon producers including Mowi and Cermaq have donated two ambulances to communities in southern Chile.

The donation worth CLP200 million ($258,288) comes as the industry steps up both its efforts to help tackle the coronavirus and community work under the "commitment to the south program," which counts on the participation of 73 salmon producers and services providers to the sector.

“These donations are just one way to present the commitment of all salmon farmers to the health of their neighbors,” said Juan Berasay, Cermaq, production manager for Chile's Aysen region.

Mowi Chile Deputy Processing Manager Juan Ignacio Aguilera stressed the importance of the ambulances to the local community.

"We know that it strengthens the health network in an important way for the region," he said.

The salmon producers comments were backed by regional ambulance service coordinator Lorena Velasco.

"I am grateful from the bottom of my heart because this benefits all our neighbors in this pandemic situation, where we face a critical situation,” she said.

A solidarity fund set up the industry has far raised 1.8 billion Chilean pesos ($2.3 million/€2 million) aimed at supporting communities in which firms operate to cope with the coronavirus health crisis.

In the Los Lagos and Aysen regions, the salmon industry has donated more than 150 million Chilean pesos ($193,675/€170,869 million) to strengthen the healthcare network in southern Chile and face the Coronavirus pandemic.

Trade body SalmonChile highlights the contributions of salmon producers, including Australis, Caleta Bay, Cermaq, Cooke Aquaculture, Yadran, Marine Farm, Invermar, Mowi Multiexport Foods, Salmones Antartica, Salmones Austral, Salmones Aysen, Blumar, Salmones Camanchaca, Salmones de Chile and Ventisqueros.

Recent donations from the industry have included seventeen hospital beds, an intensive care monitor personal protection gear, hygiene products, sanitizer, washable items and other essential equipment such as tens of thousand of gloves and bibs.

Chilean salmon producers have stepped in to help the community Photo: SalmonChile

Under the program a consignment of 500 masks, 2,000 surgical gloves and 100 liters of alcohol gel were recently distributed among the 123 families that inhabit the six remote Palena islands.

Since the onset of the crisis the salmon industry has made many such donations among the community.

At the end of May the industry staged a simulated evacuation exercise for a farm operator with a possible COVID-19 infection in Puerto Chacabuco.

The initiative was led by the company Salmones Antartica and was developed in conjunction with personnel from the Navy, the Health Authority and Oxxean port officials.

The idea was to replicate the procedure that the industry would need to undertake in the event that a farm worker produces a positive Covid-19 result.

For this, a simulation was carried out with an employee of the Puntilla center, located in the Bahia Acantilada sector, who was transferred under strict security measures to the Oxxean dock at Puerto Chabuco, Aysen in a company boat.

After 45 minutes, the boat reached the landing site, where the patient was received by waiting health professionals.