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The earthquake and subsequent tsunami have affected Chile's exports. (Photo: Asipes/FIS)

Sharp decline in exports to the south-central area

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Friday, August 27, 2010, 02:20 (GMT + 9)

Exports of fish from the south central area fell by 36.4 per cent between January and June of 2010, when compared to the same period last year. 
The decline in exports from that area of the country, which accounts for 62 per cent of the national catch, is mainly due to the earthquake and tsunami that occurred last February, which affected a large number of processing plants, mainly those producing fishmeal and frozen fillets noted Luis Felipe Moncada, manager of the Fishing Industry Association of Bío Bío A.G. (Asipes). 
Chile's south central area (Photo: Google Maps)
In total, the disaster damaged 10 out of the 14 fishmeal plants and 12 of the 17 unloading facilities. 
Moncada also stated that horse mackerel landings fell by 62 per cent during the first six months, due to the reduced availability of the fish as a result of foreign factory ships operating near the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). 
"During 2010, there have been reports of 30 factory ship sightings that were fishing for mackerel in the adjacent seas and as a result, nine support ships had to take control of the situation," he warned. 
According to statistics from the Association, between January and June this year, 183,104 tonnes of horse mackerel was landed, while in the same period in 2009, the figure was 487,309 tonnes. 
Also during the first half of 2010, returns of USD 215 million were obtained, compared to the USD 339 million in 2009. 
In the case of fishmeal, Moncada said that there was a negative change of 29 per cent in foreign sales. When sales reached USD 148 million compared to USD 210 million in the same period of 2009, reported Diario Financiero
Meanwhile, the average price for the commodity during the first six months was USD 1,626 per tonne, while last year it was USD 1,050. 
In relation to frozen products, there was a decrease of 55 per cent to USD 37 million, compared with the USD 84 million in the first half of 2009. 
Mainly, frozen mackerel was exported 60 per cent less for USD 19 million, against USD 47.9 million last year. 
Hake exports declined by 19 per cent to USD 8.8 million in 2010 (USD 10.9 million in 2009). 
Finally, canned fish registered a significant decline in returns, by totaling USD 21 million, 39 per cent less than the same period last year (USD 34.4 million).
By Analia Murias


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