New venture brings transparency to Chilean salmon

By

Steven Hedlund

Published on
January 30, 2012

There’s been so much chatter surrounding the infectious salmon anemia (ISA) outbreak of 2007 and 2008 that it’s easy to forget that Chile’s salmon-farming industry is relatively young, especially compared to land-based agriculture.

But the industry is maturing quickly, not only as it rebounds from the outbreak — Chile’s salmon production is forecasted to be up 60 percent in 2012 — but also as it becomes more transparent.

Increasing the industry’s transparency and access to information, as well as reducing price volatility and risk, is the idea behind SalmonEx. Established just last year, SalmonEx is an online trading platform for salmon-related transactions, including physical transactions, biomass REPOS and forwards.

Physical transactions are simply offers or bids on a salmon product. Biomass REPOS are stock repurchasing agreements whereby a producer sells its biomass to a buyer through the stock market, with the obligation to repurchase the biomass by a specific date. And forwards are derivatives — contracts to buy or sell a commodity at a pre-determined price, based on a referential index called the “SalmonEx Index.”

“There needs to be transparency and access to information, so there’s symmetry and reliability in the industry,” Arturo Clement, director of SalmonEx, told SeafoodSource. Clement, who’s been involved in Chile’s salmon industry since its early days in the 1980s, participated in the National Fisheries Institute’s (NFI) 2012 Global Seafood Market Conference in Miami last week.

SalmonEx also serves as a platform for sea license holders to register their holdings and publish their intent to offer those licenses to interested parties. Also available is a database of new licenses, sorted by region, zone, neighborhood and maximum allowable production.

“With sea license, no one knows the value,” said Clement. “It’s wide open right now.”

Clement said he received a lot of positive feedback about SalmonEx at the NFI conference.

Among the SalmonEx member companies are Multiexport Foods, AquaChile, Camanchaca, Blumar Seafoods, Cultivos Marinos Chiloé and Ventisqueros. SalmonEx is a joint venture between Clement and Bolsa de Productos de Chile (Chilean Commodities Exchange).

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