Future of Chilean salmon in the balance – Fishfarmer Magazine

Future of Chilean salmon in the balance07 February, 2014 –

2014 WILL be crucial for the future of the Chilean salmon industry, which may become unsustainable if it continues to accrue losses.

The warning, from Rabobank analyst, Gorjan Nikolik, comes amid cautious optimism in Chile, as rapid salmon biomass growth abates, sanitary conditions steadily improve, sea lice numbers fall.

Nevertheless, mortality levels of Chilean Atlantic salmon – 15 percent in 2013 – still make it difficult for farmers to make a profit, and as mortality levels peak during the South American summer months, the next few months are crucial.

Conversely, if mortality levels remain static, Nikolik estimated that production could be up by around 15 per cent – due largely to heavy stocking increases prior to 2013 – but that this could have a negative impact on prices.

However, if the Chilean salmon industry can weather the storm, from 2015 – when government legislation will begin to control Chilean salmon production – stocking density will stabilise and farmers will see a far better return for their salmon.

If this is added to an increase in US demand for Chilean salmon – sales are up 12 per cent –  and if the industry survives this year and these markets continue to increase, then there is room for optimism about the future.