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Reducing the Impact of Exotic Aquaculture on Chilean Aquatic Biodiversity is a Darwin Initiative that aims to bridge the gap between what are often seen as antagonistic views: development and conservation. Chile is a signatory of the Convention on Biological Diversity, but also of several trade agreements that will likely promote the further expansion of exotic aquaculture. An urgent compromise for CBD subscribers is to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2010. This project will give Chilean researchers and government officials the capacity to assess and monitor the impact of exotic fish species on local aquatic biodiversity, and to identify and manage escapes from fish farms, thereby supporting the Chilean Government commitment to CBD.   The implementation of a Management Action Plan (MAP) and Code of Best Practices (CBP) will further ensure that any future developments in sport fisheries or in fish farming in Chile’s unique aquatic habitats will be carried out in a sustainable way, with due consideration to the environmental threats posed by non-native species.   The sustainable exploitation of biodiversity and sharing of its benefits is gaining momentum in Chile. It is thus no coincidence that there are currently five Darwin Initiatives running in Chile (links to other projects), an unprecedented record for South America.

Project aims and objectives

We believe that sound scientific information is needed to help protect unique native species and a valuable aquaculture industry, but that long-term sustainability can only be achieved through a constructive dialogue between all stakeholders. The general aim of this project, hence, is to reduce in collaboration with stakeholders the impact of exotic aquaculture on Chilean aquatic biodiversity by:   1. Establishing the capacity of Chilean researchers to monitor the origin, distribution, and effects of exotic salmonids escaping from fish farms and to recognize other future, potential non-native threats   2. Assessing the prevalence of exotic and naturalized salmonids in Chilean watersheds, and their likely effects upon local wildlife   3. Developing a Management Action Plan (MAP) and a Code of Best Practices (CBP) in relation to non-indigenous fish species and the protection of native aquatic biodiversity   4. Raising public awareness on the need to protect key Andean aquatic habitats and species from foreign introductions   5. Developing an education program designed to make aquaculture more sustainable Location Most of the aquaculture operations in Chile take place in the X and XI regions of Southern Chile, and this is the general area where we operate, with bases at the Universidad de Los Lagos at Osorno and Puerto Montt.

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Project leader:
Dr. Carlos Garcia de Leaniz, University of Wales Swansea, Biological Sciences.
Singleton Park, SA2 8PP, Swansea, UK Tel. +44 (0) 1792 295383
Fax. +44 (0) 1792 295447
email: c.garciadeleaniz@swansea.ac.uk

Project coordinator:
Dr. Gonzalo Gajardo, Laboratorio de Genética & Acuicultura.
PO Box 933, Osorno. Chile
+56-64-333331; 333332
email: ggajardo@ulagos.cl

Funding for this project is provided through a DEFRA (UK) Darwin Initiative (Grant number 162-15-020).
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Laboratorio de Genética, Acuicultura & Biodiversidad. PO Box 933, Osorno. Chile, +56 - 64 - 333 331; 333 332
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