Aquaculture for all

Chile Salmon Industry Thrives Against Odds

Salmonids Biosecurity Welfare +7 more

CHILE - By all accounts 2008 was a very difficult year for Chiles farmed salmon industry. Plagued by disease and pummeled by the press, the industry entered a crisis phase as it shed several thousand jobs. More layoffs are expected to follow.

According to Benajmin Witte of Patagonia Times, the panorama of problems even prompted intervention by the government, which in late November announced it will guarantee some US$120 million in loans to struggling salmon companies. The rescue package is one of several recommendations made by a so-called Emergency Task Force, which the government convened last April in the wake of a scathing article published by the influential New York Times.

But year-end statistics are suddenly telling a different story, reports the Patagonia Times. According to the Instituto de Fomento Pequero (IFOP), exports of farmed salmon and trout actually rose in 2008, netting a record US$2.475 billion – a 6.4 percent increase over 2007. In December alone, the industry exported 48,600 tons of salmon and trout, 2.5 percent more than the same month in 2007.

The IFOP stats match findings by the Centro de Estudios Nacionales de Desarrollo Alternativo (CENDA), which reported that by the end of October, the industry had already exported US$2.023 billion worth of fish: a 4.6 percent increase over the previous year.

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