The University of Arizona

Petri dishes of an archipelago: the ecological rubble of the Chilean salmon farming industry

Andrew Gerhart


Abstract This article narrates part of the history of salmon flu in the Chilean salmon industry, and attempts to tie together environmental history and political ecology in order to reveal the complicated non-human and human collectives that constitute its "ecological rubble." It draws from ethnographic and archival research to show the views among salmon farm workers and local Chilotes who both supported and contested the industry in contradictory ways. Amidst a milieu of technocratic narratives of control, and blindness to nonhuman agencies, they themselves became simultaneously part of new forms of ecological rubble: hidden harms the industry brought to their archipelagic home. I argue that only through an awareness of these hidden collectives of both material and human social relations can we hope to weather the storms of production and destruction that industrial aquaculture births at sea. Key words: environmental history, aquaculture, disease, agriculture, salmon farming, Latin America, Chile.

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