Chile salmon volume down, value up; mussels making progress

Published on
March 21, 2017

Even though the Chilean salmon industry’s volume fell in 2016, its value increased, said Alejandro Buvinic, director of ProChile, at the ProChile / Patagonia Mussel event at the 2017 Seafood Expo North America in Boston, Massachusetts.

“We have too many natural disasters, from earthquakes to tsunamis. The important thing is that we are resilient,” Buvinic said.

While there was a 10 percent drop in volume of Chilean salmon exports in 2016, there was a 35 percent increase in value, he said, attributing the growth in part to new value-added salmon products.

“We want to not just export salmon, but to export more than salmon. The second stage is ready-to-eat products,” Buvinic said. In fact, some of the companies exhibiting at the expo supply ready-to-eat salmon meals that can be microwaved.

In related news, the Global Aquaculture Alliance, Multiexport Foods S.A., Mitsui & Co., and the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program said at SENA they are spearheading an initiative to reduce the incidence of Salmonid Rickettsial Septicaemia (SRS) in Chilean farmed salmon.

The fast-spreading disease costs the farmed salmon industry more than USD 300 million (EUR 278 million) annually.

If implemented, Multiexport’s farmed salmon producer subsidiary, jointly owned with Mitsui Tokyo, will oversee all activities related to the initiative.

“We are committed to providing our valued clients the highest standards of quality and sustainability now and in the future. It is a great opportunity, with highly valuable partners, to even improve our standards and to contribute to a better fish health and environment,” comments Andres Lyon, CEO of Multiexport Foods S.A. and CEO of Salmones Multiexport S.A.

The initiative, if implemented, would apply the principles of integrated health management, including the implementation of GAA's new Biosecurity Area Management Standards, together with an array of health management tools such as vaccines, functional feeds and genetic selection, among others.

“The Global Aquaculture Alliance is pleased to collaborate on this unique opportunity to apply the principles of integrated health management and biosecurity area management to reduce the use of antibiotics in controlling an otherwise intractable disease. The results of this project will have far-reaching benefits to producers, consumers and the environment,” GAA President George Chamberlain said.

Meanwhile, ProChile also touted the growing popularity of Patagonian mussels, which are exported to 40 countries. U.S is the biggest buyer, at around 11,000 pounds in 2016. The mussels are shipped frozen, which is safer for the consumer, easy to store for extended timeframes, and sold at a reasonable price, according to ProChile.

The Patagonian mussel industry also used the event to highlight its fair labor practices.

“It’s not just environmental impacts; it’s social programs as well. We have labor rights…and Chile is a strong democracy,” Buvinic said.

Contributing Editor

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