Antibiotic use down for fourth year in a row in Chile's salmon sector
Chilean trade body SalmonChile outlined details from its latest sustainability report at the 2019 Seafood Expo Global, showing a 23 percent reduction in the sector’s use of antibiotics.
“This is the largest reduction in the past four years and we are delighted with the result,” SalmonChile Executive Director Arturo Clément told SeafoodSource. “It is difficult to say when we will be able to stop using antibiotics altogether, although there is a target date of 2025, but the fact that the trend is continuing downwards is good news.”
Salmon farmers also clocked up the best biological indicators in the industry’s history, with mortality rates down and harvest rates up, according to SalmonChile, which represents 80 percent of the country’s salmon production and its membership includes most of the country’s largest aquaculture firms.
“The feed conversion ratio (FCR) currently stands at 1:3, so there is still work to be done to improve this. However, I am comfortable that salmon in Chile is being farmed to consistently high standards, using best practice, lower stocking densities, higher quality smolts and new strategies to manage the sea lice issue,” Clément said. “Selective vaccines are giving notably improved results and we are making increased use of functional feed and genomics to provide long-term benefits. I believe that with the conservative, stable growth that is planned for the industry, we can have a sustainable future.”
Salmon is Chile’s third-largest export product, with a value of USD 5.2 billion (EUR 4.7 billion) in 2018. The United States is Chile’s largest market for salmon (comprising 35 percent of exports by volume), followed by Japan (20 percent) and Brazil (15 percent), with Russia and China making up a further 25 percent, and European Union countries accounting for just 5 percent of the volume.
Photo courtesy of SalmonChile