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According to SalmonChile's Carlos Odebret, the industry hopes to enter an upward curve stage next year. (Photo: SalmonChile/Fipasur)

Sharp decline in salmon forecast

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010, 23:50 (GMT + 9)

The Chilean Salmon Industry Association AG (SalmonChile) anticipates a drop of 38.7 per cent in the gross output of salmon for the year, which would fall from 400,000 tonnes in 2009 to just 245,000 tonnes in 2010.

Salmon executives foresee the worst reduction in production will be registered this year mainly as the result of the sanitary problems that affect the sector, tied to outbreaks of the infectious salmon anaemia (ISA) virus.

According to Carlos Odebret, general manager of SalmonChile, in 2010 exports would reach 158,000 net tonnes, wheras in 2011 they would recover around 20 per cent.

“We hope in 2011 to enter a stage of an upward curve. The key to everything is to lowering the sanitary risk of the industry to be able to grow at a rate of 20 per cent,” commented the trade union leader to Reuters.

The salmon producers expect that the entry in force of the new General Fisheries and Aquaculture Law (LGPA) helps to improve the productive cycle of the resource.

Odebret admitted that the objective depends on a series of variables that in some cases cannot completely be controlled because stocks are farmed in an open environment, such is the sea.

The industry hopes the sanitary plan is successful in 2011, better than in 2009, when the reduction of the rate of mortality through December was set at 1 per cent in the case of Atlantic salmon, the main species of salmon produced in Chile.

“It is a wide-ranging plan that it looks to reduce mortality and arrive at fish with a weight of 4.5-5 kilos, in the case of the Atlantic salmon,” Odebret indicated.

In terms of the sanitary conditions of the industry, the SalmonChile executive considers that the key is to diminish existing problems, which will also be allowed to lower the perception of sector risk.

Important producers in Chile, as the subsidiary of the Norwegian company Marine Harvest and AquaChile, were very affected in 2009 by the spread of ISA, given the size of their plants and the number of salmon farming centres they had.

Another challenge for Chilean salmon farming will be to gradually reclaim lost markets due to productive reduction.

“We must be working in those markets that we are losing, mainly the United States, that is replacing ours with Norwegian salmon,” he added.

In the meantime, the Norwegian salmon farming industry has taken advantage of the fall in Chilean production.

Shipments from Norway to the United States through November 2009 replaced 56.7 per cent of Chile’s exports to that same market, the second most important one for the local industry, after Japan.

Chilean salmon exports to the US totalled 57,808 tonnes through last November, a number that implied 33,027 tonnes less than in the same period of 2008.

Meanwhile, shipments originating from Norway rose by 18,747 tonnes, to 24,599 tonnes, that is, 320 per cent more through last November, Diario Financiero reports.

On the issue, Odebret dismissed the idea that the Norwegian industry is able to replace the Chilean contribution totally, mainly due to the added value of local products and their lower commercial value.

“As of 2011 we will take the fraction that Norway has not captured and from there on will commence a standing fight with that country to recover the North American market,” he added.

Related article:

- Salmon producers look to reconquer US market

By Analia Murias
[email protected]




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