Chilean salmon farmers, Sernapesca optimistic about coho trade deal signed with China

A signing ceremony between Chile and China for its latest trade deal.

The Chilean and Chinese governments signed an agreement in mid-October that will result in an increase exports of Chilean aquaculture products, including fresh coho salmon, to China.

The Chilean National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (Sernapesca) celebrated the agreement, while publicly, Chile's largest coho farmers have been more reserved in their approach.

“I want to highlight the protocol where the Chinese Customs Authority will recognize the certification performed by Sernapesca – in charge of inspection in our country – allowing some products that were not possible to export to China [before] to enter the said country – in particular coho salmon, which as of this agreement will be able to be exported fresh to China, strongly increasing the value of the export,” Chile Economy Minister Nicolás Grau said.

The agreement will facilitate exports of fresh oysters, trout, and coho salmon from Chile to China, which has been seeking trade partnerships with several countries to drive imports of seafood for the first time. The agreement is also expected to expedite exports of Chilean mussels; China already receives the product, but the agreement will improve trade efficiency.

Sernapesca National Director Soledad Tapia Almonacid said the signing validated her organization’s longtime efforts to advance the deal.

“It is a recognition of the work of our institution, which through its control, inspection, and health and safety certification systems for fishing and aquaculture resources, provides full guarantees that the products exported are suitable for consumption in a market as important as China,” she said.

According to the Chilean Salmon Council, Chile exported 3,822 metric tons (MT) of coho – all frozen – to China during the first nine months of the year, jumping 166 percent compared to shipments sent in the same period of 2022. At the same time, coho salmon represents only 11 percent of the total salmonids that Chile exported to China, with Atlantic salmon taking up the lion’s share in the category at 86 percent.

As such, China represents a significant growth opportunity for fresh Chilean-farmed coho salmon, according to orge Guzmán, the commercial manager at Salmones Aysén, Chile’s sole 100 percent coho producer, who said ... 

Photo courtesy of Sernapesca

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