Chilean industry pioneer Jorge Valdés dies at 85

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Jorge Fernández Valdés, one of the pioneers of salmon farming in Chile, has died at the age of 85.

He had been involved with Chile’s seafood sector since the 1960s and went onto establish the salmon farming company Salmones Camanchaca a decade or two later which developed into a powerful force in the South American aquaculture industry.

He acquired 100% of the shares in Camanchaca, then mainly a fishing company,  around 1980, partnering in the business with his friend Francisco Correa.

Together they set off on a seafood adventure which brought them into aquaculture, which was still a minor activity in South America.

Their entrepreneurial spirit persuaded them to set up some of the country’s first salmon farms, a business which grew rapidly.

Jorge Fernández Valdés later listed the company on the Santiago Stock Exchange in Chile which led to the opening of the Salmones Camanchca subsidiary in 2018.

He later resigned as Camanchaca president and was succeeded in the position by his eldest son Jorge Fernández García.

Ricardo García Holtz, general manager of Camanchaca, said: “He was a great man, with tenacity, vision and righteous action… an entrepreneur who knew how to take risks and challenges, and generate confidence in those who followed him.”

Salmones Camanchaca was a founding member of the Global Salmon Initiative and has been instrumental in helping to make Chile one of the world’s leading salmon farming countries. Its products now have a global reach.

Jorge Fernández Valdés

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