SANTIAGO – A multidisciplinary team of 14 scientists has boarded a Chilean navy research vessel for a voyage to study the deadly red tide that has prompted a ban on fishing in the country’s southern waters, officials said Thursday.
The scientists will be joined by two fishermen from Ancud, a town in the Chiloe archipelago, where the government-imposed prohibition on fishing has spurred conflict with a population who depend largely on the sea for their livelihoods.
The team will try to determine whether there is any relationship between the red tide and the 4,000 tons of dead salmon that local organizations say appeared about 130 kilometers (81 miles) off the coast of the Chiloe islands in mid-March.
“We will also traverse the entire area of Chiloe exposed to the Pacific, where we will take samples of various types that can tell us what are the most plausible reasons for why this phenomenon occurred,” University of Los Lagos professor Alejando Buchmann said.
Since 1972, 23 people have died in Chile from eating seafood contaminated with the toxins found in red tide.