Chile's Farmed-Salmon Industry Fights Back


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
April 9, 2008

SalmonChile, a trade organization representing Chile's farmed-salmon industry, launched a U.S. ad campaign today to reassure consumers that Chilean salmon is safe, nutritious and affordable and produced under stringent environmental and quality-control standards.

Titled "The Real Truth about Salmon from Chile," the ads will run in the New York Times, Miami Herald and Seattle Times this week.

The ads are designed to counter misinformation about Chile's farmed-salmon industry and alert consumers that numerous regulatory agencies, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, express confidence in Chile's salmon-farming practices, according to SalmonChile.

"It is in our best interest as a producing country to make sure that every fish that leaves our ports is produced according to the highest environmental, food safety and quality standards," said SalmonChile General Manager Rodrigo Infante, in a press release. "It is time to set the record straight."

The ad campaign comes two weeks after the New York Times reported that Chilean salmon farmers, fighting the infectious salmon anemia virus, lack sanitary controls and are using growth hormones and antibiotics, claims that SalmonChile strongly denies.

Following the March 27 story, Safeway, which operates 1,775 supermarkets in North America, restricted its Chilean salmon purchases. The Pleasanton, Calif., retailer was named in the story as a buyer of farmed salmon from Marine Harvest, a Norwegian company whose farms were hit hard by ISA.

Marine Harvest announced today that Torben Petersen, who revealed to the Times that Marine Harvest sells farmed salmon to Safeway and Costco, will step down as CEO of the company's Chilean and U.S. operations, as his contract has expired. Petersen had held the post since 2007.

Alvaro Jimenez Seminario, currently director of Marine Harvest's value-added smoked operations in Chile and the United States, will take over as acting CEO immediately, while the company searches for a permanent replacement.

Marine Harvest also unveiled today that its global farmed-salmon production totaled 83,642 metric tons in the first quarter of 2008, exceeding its projection by 13,642 metric tons. The company's Chilean operations sold 24,022 metric tons of farmed salmon during the three-month period.

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