“The fish farms in Chile were developed without any environmental legal framework.” Alejandro Buschmann, University of Los Lagos, Chile.
Dutch multinational Nutreco is the world’s leading producer of salmon, with farms in Norway, Scotland and Chile among other places. Fish farming is often extremely polluting and damaging to the marine environment.
In early 2002, Friends of the Earth Netherlands investigated Nutreco’s fish farms in the waters near Puerto Montt and off Chiloé Island, where the majority of the population has traditionally earned their livelihoods through fishing and agriculture. They found that Nutreco’s salmon farms in Chiloé are the source of major environmental problems.
The water is seriously polluted with antibiotics and chemicals. Excessive salmon feed and excrement has led to toxic algae.
Workers also reported that Nutreco, locally known as Marine Harvest Chile, mistreats its employees.The company discriminates against unions. Conditions are worst of all for those employed by Nutreco’s subcontractors, although Nutreco denies any knowledge of these abuses.
Nor does Nutreco play by the rules: it repeatedly breaks Chilean Fisheries Law, and does not abide by International Labour Organization treaties or the OECD’s guidelines for multinational corporations. In fact, Nutreco has been known to break its own environmental and social policies when they get in the way of profit.