Re-framing salmon aquaculture in the aftermath of the ISAV crisis in Chile

Last modified: 
December 14, 2020 - 7:00pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2021
Date published: 02/2021
Authors: Pamela Bachmann-Vargas, C.S.A. van Koppen, Machiel Lamers
Journal title: Marine Policy
Volume: 124
Pages: 104358
ISSN: 0308597X

Globally, aquaculture is expanding rapidly, with salmon becoming one of the most dynamic and fast-growing production systems in the world. Despite its commercial success, Chilean salmon production has navigated through severe economic and sanitary crises; followed by consecutive policy changes. Between 2007 and 2009, the rapid spread and the multiple effects of the Infectious Salmon Anemia virus (ISAV) marked a tipping point in the trajectory of the salmon aquaculture in southern Chile. This paper examines the discursive mechanisms through which the Chilean salmon aquaculture industry is currently being re-framed in the aftermath of the ISAV crisis, with a focus on searching for the emergence of ecosystem-related elements post crisis. The analysis shows that Chilean salmon aquaculture is being re-framed by the reproduction of three main discourses: biosecurity, sustainable protein and The Promise of Patagonia. The paper concludes that despite the staggering effects of the ISAV crisis on the national salmon production and on coastal communities more than a decade ago, new discourses are focused on the legitimization to growth, in the absence of integrated marine ecosystem-related elements, indicating a crucial gap toward environmental sustainability in salmon aquaculture.

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