New aquaculture innovation center in Chile seeks to diversify past salmon
Looking to diversify past the dominance of salmon in southern Chile, the government-backed aquaculture innovation center AquaPacífico has inaugurated a new center that will focus on developing 17 different commercial fish and mollusk species in the north of the country.
The AquaPacifico center is located in the city of Coquimbo, around 400 kilometers north of the capital Santiago, and is a joint initiative founded in 2016 between the Chilean government’s productive investment agency Corfo and the Universidad Catòlica del Norte.
According to a report in El Economista America, the newly-inaugurated facilities aim to develop aquaculture activities past salmon, focusing on species like Atlantic pomfret (Brama brama), Chilean abalone, scallops, clams, freshwater shrimp, and more.
Corfo Executive Vice President Sebastian Sichel participated in the inauguration and said in a speech that he saw an opportunity to develop aquaculture activities in new regions of the country, in hand with academic institutions and small producers.
“Chile can develop as more territories develop their activities, and this is happening here with an academic activity linked to the industry, in order to diversify our export portfolio,” Sichel said.
AquaPacifico Executive Director Axel Klimpel said that this project started with a diagnostic analysis of the aquaculture industry and continued through a dialogue with companies and artisan fishing communities in order to launch its first initiatives and business models.
“What comes now is the orderly development of the center, generating R&D projects to solve technological gaps that exist and back aquaculture entrepreneurship,” Klimpel said in the report.
AquaPacifico received an initial investment of US 16 million (EUR 14.3 million), with just over half (55 percent) being provided by the government, with the remainder of the funding coming from the university and partner institutions.