Leave your fruit at home

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First of all, you should never travel with bananas. They get squished in your bag, and trust me on this one, laptops don’t respond well to banana pulp in the monitor port. More importantly, if you forget to declare your banana when you come to visit Chile, you can be fined $250. Just ask the delightful singer Julieta Venegas, who was detained for failure to declare her banana upon arrival here.

Please don’t tell me I am getting off topic. International phytosanitary regimes are all that stand between us and the abyss. You let people can enter Chile with undeclared seedless supermarket fruit and next thing we’ll all have to marry box turtles. There are few natural resource issues so important as avoiding the unregistered entry of platanos into Julieta Venegas’s laptop.

I include for your pleasure the list of fruits that can’t be taken to the Moquegua region of Peru. Click the picture for a big version. Keep out of there with your foreign caquis, anonas, tumbos serranos and falso almendros. Got it? I thank Peru’s Agriculture Ministry for making such a cool little learning aid for those of us interested in tropical fruits.

In all seriousness, though — this is how Chile protects its agriculture industry. Meanwhile, ask people why there is so much salmon-industry trash floating in the southern Chile fjords, and they all say the inspectors lack manpower. Go figure.

5 thoughts on “Leave your fruit at home

  1. westslope

    Chile lacks sufficient salmon-farm ocean-habitat focused non-governmental organization (NGO) activists. Some of the American enviro-activist groups have paid attention to Chile’s salmon farming business but not much. Like so many other farming activities, mean rents (economic profits) are probably close to zero. Margins are thin. Paying for more careful practices cannot protect resource rents that don’t exist because it is too easy to get into the game and ramp up production which inevitably sends prices down and deflates profits.

    Both Chile and Argentina have established wild, successful populations of exotic rainbow trout, as well as exotic resident and sea-run brown trout that have near-extirpated native populations of indigenous freshwater fish species such as perca or pejerrey.

    Frankly, it is hard to imagine salmon farms doing much worse. Chinook salmon were introduced by farming activities and appear to be establishing self-sustaining wild runs. The Chinook salmon can easily attain sizes over 20kg and in freshwater dig enormous spawning ‘redds’ in the gravel. They are likely exploiting new niches or competing for habitat with existing exotic salmonids.

  2. westslope

    Hola che setty: Was going to e-mail this NYTimes article to you but thought others might be interested given the fish farm theme. I did not realize that Tilapia farming had become such a big business in Latin America.

    I wonder what the American-tourist bass fishermen think of folks farming Tilapia in their favourite largemouth bass lake in Honduras?

    May 2, 2011
    Another Side of Tilapia, the Perfect Factory Fish

    AGUA AZUL, Honduras — A common Bible story says Jesus fed 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish, which scholars surmise were tilapia.

    But at the Aquafinca fish farm here, a modern miracle takes place daily: Tens of thousands of beefy, flapping tilapia are hauled out of teeming cages on Lake Yojoa, converted to fillets in a cold slaughterhouse and rushed onto planes bound for the United States, where some will appear on plates within 12 hours.


    1. NicaCat56

      Interesting article. I’d seen this yesterday in my daily Google report on Nicaragua (I was born & raised there). I spent some time in Granada, Nicaragua, three and a half years ago. There was a local tilapia farm which, at that time, was starting to cause discussions about the pollution for Lake Cocibolca (the Indian name for Lake Nicaragua). This is the first article I’ve seen that addresses the problems that this type of farming has brought about.

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