Algal losses pass $100m

Between February and March those Chilean salmon producers which are listed on the local stock exchange lost a combined $100 million due to Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs).

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According to the latest quarterly reports, Aquachile, Australis, Blumar, Camanchaca, Invermar and Multiexport lost a combined total of about US$ 100 million as a result of mortalities generated by the blooms of Pseudochattonella cf. verruculosa in the region of Los Lagos.


Information from Multiexport about aggregated losses of biomass in its five affected farms - at that time containing fish of between 0.9 and 4.3 kg - is of 5,203 tonnes, the equivalent of 45 per cent of the total biomass in those farms. This corresponds to a total cost of US$ 27 million, although Multiexport said all five affected sites affected were insured, specifically against algae blooms.

"Such insurance covers lost biomass at its book value at the time of the incident, with individual deductibles per site of between 8 and 20 per cent on the book value of the biomass, plus an annual aggregated deductible of US$ 2.5 million for the entire company”, Multiexport reported.

Aquachile and Camanchaca

Meanwhile, Aquachile estimated losses of 9,398 tonnes, corresponding to 22 per cent of the total biomass in its affected farms, worth about US$ 38.8 million. Moreover, there was an additional estimated cost of US$ 4.5 million related to handling mortality, costs of moving fish to sites with lower risk of algae and early harvesting from affected farms.

According to the company, their sites had no insurance against this risk of nature.

Meanwhile, Camanchaca had estimated losses of US$ 5.8 million due to HABs and were not covered by insurance either.

Blumar and Australis

Blumar informed that its biological assets experienced a US$ 6.5 million decrease compared to the results of December 2015, explained by a reduction in their biomass of Atlantic salmon of about US$ 22 million, which was strongly influenced by HABs affecting their site ‘Caicura’. As reported by the company, that site was insured against HABs and duly received US$ 0.982 million.

Meanwhile, Australis Seafoods reported losses of US$ 7.6 million related to blooms, which affected two of their farms, containing 1,100 tonnes of Atlantic salmon and 90 tonnes of coho salmon.

The company estimates losses of US$ 6.5 and US$ 1.1 million at each site, respectively. Neither farm was insured.

Although these companies expect to overcome these negative margins they also assume that these biomass losses will restrict the product supply and continue to generate a rise in prices in destination markets.