Chilean Navy Busts Salmon Thieves Gang
The Chilean Navy stated on Monday that it has dismantled a criminal group responsible for stealing salmon from farms and transporting it to the southern part of the country, where it was distributed to clients nationwide.
During the operation, the Navy intercepted a vessel carrying 7.5 tons of stolen fish valued at nearly 100 million Chilean pesos (over US$115,000) and apprehended six suspects found on board.
The seventh member of the gang, suspected of being a middleman in the illicit business, was arrested on land. Authorities seized four vehicles, along with firearms and ammunition, in addition to the vessel.
According to officials, the stolen salmon was credibly labeled, making it challenging for buyers to determine its illegal origin and assess the potential health risks associated with the poor sanitary and quality conditions of the shipment.
Chile ranks among the world's leading producers of farmed salmon, but it faces an annual loss of approximately $80 million due to salmon theft, as reported by aquaculture media outlets and industry representatives.
As one of the 12 most significant fishing countries globally, Chile relies on the fishing and aquaculture industry as a cornerstone of its economy, making it susceptible to criminal activities in this sector.