Five salmon companies Invermar, AquaChile, Acuimag, Aguas Claras and Exportadora Los Fiordos filed claims of illegality with the Court of Appeals of Puerto Montt, seeking to leave without effect an unprecedented resolution of the Council for Transparency (CPLT).
In this, the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (Sernapesca) was ordered to provide all information to Oceana on antibiotic use and production for 2018 as information of public interest.
“There is a double standard in the industry, because most of these companies talk about sustainability and transparency in their reports, and then demand judicially to prevent the delivery of information,” said Liesbeth van der Meer, Executive Director of Oceana Chile.
The CPLT’s decision established that the information requested by Oceana does not affect trade and economic rights, adding further that “there is a public interest associated with knowledge of such background by being linked to a subject that may compromise public health and the environment”.
According to Liesbeth van der Meer, “on multiple occasions we have shown that information does not have commercial value, so we believe that opposing companies seek to cover up excessive use of antibiotics.”
However, following the CPLT’s decision, a large part of the companies abided by the judgment and allowed Sernapesca to send the data to Oceana, with the exception of Invermar, AquaChile, Acuimag, Aguas Claras and Exportadora Los Fiordos, whose claims must be resolved by justice.
Oceana has applied via the Transparency Act, information on antibiotic use and production since 2014, always finding opposition from most companies. Some of them have also filed illegality claims with the Court of Appeals, and others have even gone to the Constitutional Court, an instance that has always ruled in favour of salmon.
In the face of previous requests for information, it has been the Courts of Appeals and Supreme that have ordered the delivery of the data, decisions that have come after lengthy judicial proceedings that have taken up to four years and which have clearly established that it does not affect the commercial competitiveness of companies and that this is information that compromises the public interest.
Currently, the bill regulating, among other matters, the obligation for all mullets to publish monthly the use of antibiotics and production, in addition to mortality, is in process in the Senate.