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Encouraging Future For Salmon Firms

Economics +1 more

CHILE - The National Fisheries Service (SERNAPESCA) assures that the present productive state of salmon farming firms has improved with respect to previous years, following the serious problems they faced since 2007 due to outbreaks of the infectious salmon anaemia (ISA) virus.

According to Alicia Gallardo, head of the Aquaculture Unit of SERNAPESCA, "the danger of diseases in aquaculture always exists, nevertheless, the productive scenario and bio-security is far better today."

Currently, Region X is free of the ISA virus and leads in smolt stockings.

In addition, in regions XI and XII alone there are a total of five salmon farming centres under suspicion, which demonstrates a remarkable improvement for the sector, the Aquaculture head added.

According to the Salmon Industry Association of Chile AG (SalmonChile) salmon production will reach some 385,000 gross tonnes and 245,000 net tonnes in 2011, which would imply a recovery of around 10 per cent with respect to this year.

That productive increase would to a large extent be assured if the farming firms accede to planned financing, have specimens for breeding available and if salmon mortality drops.

"Indeed, smolt stocking at sea has observed a remarkable increase over the last few months, especially in Region X," Ms Gallardo indicated.

"The important part is that as much the role of the government. For this reason, the modifications of the General Fisheries and Aquaculture Law, which tend to fortify preventive control measures and the powers of the authority, are key. Of equal importance is the industry's commitment to a new productive model and to the fulfilment of the norms," she continued explaining.

"From the point of view of fast response to diseases, immediate notification is required by part the industry so that the authority can activate timely disease containment systems,” Ms Gallardo explained.

The spread of the ISA virus not only caused a steep decline in Chilean salmon production, but also changed the backdrop of the salmon farming industry: While big companies saw their presence diminish in the market, the smallest firms watched their roles grow.

The big firms registered minor salmon productions for they moved up their harvests and paralysed smolt stocking in their farming centres. That, as well, allowed small and mid-sized firms to be ranked amongst the main salmon exporters.