Chilean salmon production to drop in 2009
By April Forristall, SeafoodSource assistant editor
12 February, 2009 -
Despite it being a slow time of year for the species, buyers in the market for Atlantic salmon should position themselves now, because waiting until the second quarter could result in a very hard year.
Production in Chile is expected to fall drastically as a result of disease outbreaks and accelerated harvesting in 2008.
The infectious salmon anemia (ISA) situation in Chile “is very, very serious, and it’s going to take a considerable amount of time” to fix, says one processor.
Increased production from countries like Norway — which will grant 65 new salmon farming licenses this year — will not save the global industry from a reduced supply. The rest of the world’s salmon supply is static and the industry was unable to take any preemptive measures to compensate for Chile’s shortfall.
“The reaction time isn’t there,” says the processor. “If you compare [the seafood industry] to the poultry industry, which can react to a shortfall instantly, and it takes us a year and a half.”
Thus prices have already begun to increase and were higher in mid-January than at the tail end of last year. However, prices should remain steady since they are traditionally based on demand and not supply.
“If prices were going to topple due to lack of demand, it would have happened already.”
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