Chile’s ISA woes reverberate worldwide
By Steven Hedlund, SeafoodSource editor
28 May, 2009 -
Chile’s struggles with infectious salmon anemia (ISA) continue to grip the global farmed salmon market.
The first quarter of this year was marked by declining production in Chile and rising prices worldwide. During that period, ISA forced the world’s largest farmed salmon producer, Marine Harvest, to halve its number of active sites in Chile, which cut its output there in half.
A significant increase in Norway’s farmed salmon exports, valued at a record $720 million-plus in the first quarter of 2009, wasn’t enough to compensate for the production shortfall in Chile, and prices began to rise worldwide.
By mid-May in the United States, fresh Chilean salmon fillets were pushing the mid-$4 mark on 3- to 4-pound fillets, while fresh whole Canadian fish ranged from $3 to $3.50 for New Brunswick-raised fish and $2.50 to just over $3 for British Columbia-raised fish.
However, more Norwegian salmon is finding its way to the United States, which should ease pressure on tightening supplies. Chilean and Canadian product dominates the U.S. farmed salmon market.
In the first quarter of 2009, U.S. Atlantic salmon imports from Norway, which topped 7 million pounds, more than doubled from the same period last year. Given Chile’s ISA woes, the Norwegian Seafood Export Council is looking to seize the opportunity and grow Norway’s share of the U.S. farmed salmon market, even though there’s a U.S. tariff on Norwegian product.
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