On Friday, SERNAPESCA (National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service) delivered a report on stranded marine animals dead due to avian influenza:
There are more than 2,270 specimens of common sea lions, Humboldt penguins and chungungos that have stranded dead on the coasts of our country during the first quarter of 2023, mainly in the north. The figure is 1,421% higher than the total number of strandings, corresponding to these species, registered throughout the year 2022.
The National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service has reported a considerable increase in the stranding of dead marine animals on the Chilean coasts during the first quarter of 2023. In total, 1,535 specimens of sea lions, 730 Humboldt penguins and 8 chungungos are reported. that have stranded dead on the coasts of the central and northern macro-zones, the main affected regions being: Arica and Parinacota with 709 dead sea lions and 343 dead Humboldt penguins, the Tarapacá region with 195 dead sea lions, the Antofagasta region with 218 dead sea lions and the Atacama region with 226 dead Humboldt penguins.
“During these three months of the year we recorded a historical number of dead stranded marine animals, corresponding to 2,273 specimens of these three species. The total number of these stranded animals dead for a full year in 2022 was 160, and in 2021 there were 129 dead specimens in total. This shows that we are clearly facing an anomalous situation, which we attribute to the phenomenon of highly pathogenic avian influenza, especially since the strandings in these months are concentrated in the northern zone,” said Soledad Tapia, National Director of Sernapesca.
In the context of the Avian Influenza emergency, work has been reinforced with other entities such as the Presidential Delegations, Regional Governments, SAG, Seremías, Municipalities and others, in order to support an active surveillance plan throughout the coastline with the in order to reduce the risks of viral circulation of said disease, through the detection, testing and final disposal of affected animals.
The epidemiological situation of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) by H5 subtype of Eurasian lineage has continued to spread. There are 9 regions that have registered marine fauna protected by the Fisheries and Aquaculture Law with positivity for avian influenza, with cases from Arica to Biobío only excepting the Metropolitan and Ñuble regions.
To date, a total of 29 specimens of marine animals confirmed as HPAI-positive have been counted, corresponding to 2 chungungos, 23 sea lions and 4 Humboldt penguins.
It should be noted that SERNAPESCA is prioritizing assistance to the strandings of animals with symptoms associated with avian influenza. As for the disposal of the dead animals, it corresponds to the respective municipalities with the support of the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service to protect the biosafety protocols.
The service reiterated the emphatic call to people who are on the coastline not to touch or manipulate, keep their distance, and report in the event that a dead bird or marine animal is detected on the coastline or that shows signs such as: decay, coughing, breathing difficulties or muscle spasms. This includes not moving them, not returning them to the sea or burying them on beaches at your own expense.
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