A few days ago the Minister of Economy, Juan Andrés Fontaine, announced that the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (Sernapesca) will report the Norwegian capital company Nova Austral to the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the S uperintendency of the Environment, in one of the consequences of the research of El Mostrador that led to the existence of a manipulation of the actual number of death of salmon in its centers, located inside the Alberto de Agostini National Park, in the Magellan region and Chilean Antarctica.
And while the now former general manager of the company, Nicos Nicolaides, initially came out to defend the company, relativizing the accusations and arguing that it was all due to “a sum of misunderstandings and confusions.” Today the new boss, Francisco Miranda, appointed on Thursday by the board, referred to the questions and admitted that “incorrect information was actually given to the authority”. Miranda told La Tercera that while the investigation is still ongoing, “incorrect information was indeed given to the authority regarding salmon mortality in the last production cycle.”
However, noting that the company conducts an independent investigation by international experts, he added that “what could also be corroborated was that even if mortality had not been reported correctly, all of it was treated, transported and disposed of as the law states it, so there is no environmental damage”
“Fish mortality rates were impacted by the algae boom in 2016 and smolts transfers from the La Araucanía and Los Lagos regions, which sometimes die from the long journey in extreme conditions,” he said.
“We are a serious company”
The new general manager carried out a mea culpa and assured that Nova Austral will cooperate with the investigation. “We need to be even more careful in our processes and improve internal controls, to ensure 100% compliance in all regulatory areas and that we adhere to the best production practices of the industry,” he said.
Miranda regretted that the situation is affecting the company’s reputation and insisted that Nova Austral “is a serious, responsible company and that it is taking all necessary measures to give full assurances to the authority”.
Asked how the company’s controllers have reacted, Miranda said they are very concerned. “Their will is to sustainably produce salmon of the highest quality, and this one-off is a difficult work of years and an ambitious project in terms of quality and contribution to local development,” he argued.
It should be noted that, after the uncovering of the case, the ACS certifist of Nova Autral, who endorses it as a sustainable company, suspended the use of its logos in its products. Will they do anything about it? Miranda says it’s a temporary suspension “and we’re working to get it back as soon as possible, because it’s a very important certification for us and our customers.”
Finally, regarding the government’s position, from where they noted that Nova Austral risks the suspension of its operations, Miranda is patient and comments that “we will have to wait for the result of the recently initiated processes, in which we will collaborate fully.”