A volcano in Chile may affect the amount of salmon available in the U.S. Official damage estimates are not available yet, but Eduardo Aguilera of the National Fishing Service says about 20 million fish have died as ash descends on local waterways and the ocean.
On April 22, Chile’s Calbuco volcano in the Los Lagos Region erupted after lying dormant since 1972, leaving a 9 mile ash plume over the city of Puerto Montt, located approximately 600 miles south of Santiago. Initial reports indicate that salmon producers in the Los Lagos Region will experience the highest damages due to the thick layer of ash already falling in the area.
According to the Chilean Salmon Producers Association, 8% of newly spawned salmon and smolt production (approximately 25 million) are at risk as a result of the volcanic eruption. In the area affected close to the volcano, there are at least four facilities which were damaged and another eleven operations close to but outside of the 12 mile perimeter that had to be evacuated, including all workers.
Chile produces 800,000 metric tons of salmon per year, worth approximately $2.5 billion. That country makes up 45% of the world’s salmon production and account for over half of Chiles total agricultural exports.