Chile's salmon farming consolidated as the country's second-largest export sector

The VIII SalmonChile Sustainability Report highlights the leadership of salmon farming in exports, the decrease in the use of antibiotics, and the important economic contributions in the regions where it operates.
SalmonChile's VIII Sustainability Report highlights salmon farming is consolidating its position as the country's second-largest exporting sector.
SalmonChile's VIII Sustainability Report highlights salmon farming is consolidating its position as the country's second-largest exporting sector.SalmonChile

SalmonChile presented its VI Sustainability Report in which the member companies disclose their main indicators for the 2022 fiscal year. The results not only demonstrate that Chilean salmon farming has consolidated its position as the country's second-largest export sector but also show the good performance of the sector's health indicators.

The president of SalmonChile, Arturo Clément, remarked that this report is "an exercise in transparency and commitment to the country and the communities in which they operate" on the part of the association's member companies.

"I want to emphasize the great effort they have made to report each time indexes that show progress in sustainability, which is a sign of the real commitment they have to environmental care and the link with the environment, realizing that our activity is compatible with the environment and with the right of the people from the south to prosper," he said.

In addition to the economic, health, and environmental figures, the report also contains data on labor indicators, as well as figures on contributions to regions and work with the community, international certifications in sustainability, and advances in investment and development.

The economics of salmon farming in Chile in 2022

Chilean salmon farming exports in 2022 showed an increase of 27.4% over the previous year, reaching a value of USD 6,607 million (EUR 6,234 million). Compared to other productive activities in the country, salmon shipments exceeded the fruit sector by 11%, cellulose by 45%, and wine by 71%, consolidating Chilean salmon farming as the country's second-largest export sector after mining.

Another highlight of the VIII SalmonChile Sustainability Report is the important economic contributions of the industry in the regions where it operates. Just in payments for aquaculture patents, the ten producer companies in the professional association contributed USD 14.1 million (EUR 13.3 million), which represents approximately 50% of the total payments for this concept made by the industry in the country.

Payments of more than USD 1,920 million (EUR 1,812 million) to the small and medium-sized suppliers that are part of its value chain must be added to these figures. This is a significant fact, especially considering that it does not include payments to feed mills. In addition, SalmonChile's partners contributed USD 1.6 million (EUR 1.5 million) to the community, 83% more than in 2021, and spent USD 6.4 million (EUR 6 million) on projects and initiatives associated with research, development, and innovation.

"The figures presented corroborate the importance of salmon farming both for the south of Chile and for the country as a whole, given that our activity represents 2.1% of GDP," explained Tomás Monge, Territorial Director of SalmonChile. "Our productive sector is synonymous with development, social mobility and decentralization, and we must continue working so that this contribution is maintained for future generations," he added.

Finally, the labor indicators included in SalmonChile's Sustainability Report say the sector has enabled the creation of quality jobs, paid above the average in southern Chile, which prevent the migration of its people to other regions (71% of the industry's workforce resides in the Los Lagos Region). Likewise, in 2022 occupational safety presented an important milestone by registering an accident rate of 1.5%, the lowest since 2013 and -0.4% compared to 2021.

Production practices indicators, in the right direction

In July the Chilean National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (Sernapesca) reported a 31.9% decrease in antimicrobial use throughout the country. Now, in addition to highlighting the good economic figures, the VIII Sustainability Report SalmonChile also emphasizes the significant decrease in the use of antibiotics recorded in 2022, which, for its member companies, was 19% lower than the previous year. Likewise, the rate of antiparasitics registered the lowest value of use since 2013, and the association also highlighted the increase in the use of non-pharmacological tools to achieve this.

"In recent years, we have witnessed how salmon farming has increased its efforts towards sustainability, with measures that contribute to reducing the impacts on the environment and ecosystems in which it is present, continuously improving health practices in the operation and seeking to increase the positive impacts on the territory and its communities. The 2022 figures show a good health performance of our partner companies, which also reflects their efforts to face their different challenges and gaps," said SalmonChile's Salmon Technology Institute (Intesal) General Manager, Esteban Ramírez.

These good production practices focused on disease prevention are also reflected in the low mortality rate, which reached 5.2% last year. The report also highlights that during 2022 there was only one fish escape event, maintaining the good performance of this indicator compared to previous years. In addition, SalmonChile emphasizes that last year 100% of the harvested biomass was internationally certified (BAP - ASC - GAP).

Regarding recycling figures, 100% of SalmonChile's member companies complied with the task of recovering their inorganic waste, recycling a total of 11,630 thousand tons. Finally, following the signing of the Clean Production Agreement (APL) in 2021, where one of its goals was that member companies of the association should measure their Corporate Carbon Footprint, 2022 was the first year in which they included this indicator in their Sustainability Report. The figure was 4.8 tons of CO2 equivalent per ton of fish harvested.

Included within its policy of transparency and good practices, this annual report of SalmonChile is one more of the initiatives of the Chilean salmon farmers' association to contribute to the sustainability of the sector. It joins others such as the Salmon Science Plan presented in May of this year because, as Esteban Ramírez pointed out at the time, currently, "new information needs have arisen, both from the salmon farming sector and from the public, regarding the socio-environmental impacts of our activity."

About SalmonChile

SalmonChile has been working for 35 years to unite the main producers and suppliers of Atlantic Salmon, Coho, and Trout in Chile in the health, environmental, regulatory, social, and economic challenges of the sector, both nationally and internationally. It places sustainability and the link with the communities as fundamental drivers of its work.

The association is made up of 48 members belonging to national and multinational companies, of which 10 are producers and/or exporters (Australis, Cermaq Chile, Yadran, Marine Farm, Multi X, Blumar, Camanchaca, Cooke Aquaculture Chile, Salmones Austral, Ventisqueros); 9 fish farms and egg producers; and 29 suppliers to the sector, such as laboratories, feed plants, pharmaceuticals, logistics and equipment services, transportation, packaging and veterinarians, among others.

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