Chilean farmed salmon numbers rebounding after a 2008 Salmon Anemia outbreak devastated the population.
THIS REPORT CONTAINS ASSESSMENTS OF COMMODITY AND TRADE ISSUES MADE BY
USDA STAFF AND NOT NECESSARILY STATEMENTS OF OFFICIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT
GAIN Report Number: CI1025
Chile's Salmon Population Recovered from 2008 ISA
Product Brief: Salmon
Rachel Bickford, Agricultural Attaché
María José Herrera M., Marketing Specialist
Chilean farmed salmon numbers rebounding after a 2008 Salmon Anemia outbreak devastated the
population. Officials warn that recent population boom will bring its own consequences.
Three years since nearly being decimated by the spread of the Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) virus, Chile?s salmon
population has finally recovered its numbers, industry officials say.
According to the most recent data, salmon production ?Chile?s third-largest export?has increased by 44 percent since last
year. The industry has yielded 420,000 tons of fish already in 2011, and officials estimate that figure will rise to 550,000 tons
by the end of the year.
Chile has not seen this amount of production since 2006, when the nation?s salmon industry peaked at 500,000 tons, putting
it on a par with the leading global salmon producer, Norway.
In 2008 a strand of ISA hit Chile?s coast, wiping out a large portion of the fish population and taking a substantial toll on the
industry?21 fishing sites and two processing plants were closed as a result.
Industry insiders note that the rise in the salmon population is not without its negative consequences. Increased salmon
production as the industry gains its strength has led to decreased international prices for the commodity. With the predicted
increase in production coming from Chile, officials expect the low prices are here to stay.
Recent sanitary regulations in Chile, implemented to avoid future ISA outbreaks, will also be costly to implement and will
likely impact profits, officials say.
Perhaps a broader ecological consequence of this boom in Chile?s salmon industry, however, is the potential permanent
biological impact of overfishing that officials warn will result if production exceeds the current rate.