After producing 68,000 tons in 2016, Cermaq, Australis Seafoods, Nova Austral and Salmones Magallanes will expand activity by 25 per cent to reach 85,000 tons this year, fishfarmingexpert’s Chilean sister publication, salmonexpert.cl, reports.
And that figure will increase further when new players such as Blumar and Multiexport Foods begin production in Chile’s largest, southernmost and second least-populated region.
The Salmon and Trout Producers’ Association says that with these companies operating in the area, in five or six more years production will reach 140,000 tons – the maximum the region can sustain.
The association’s vice president, Óscar Garay, warned that there is no space for more than 140,000 tons in Magallanes, "With that it would reach its peak,” said Garay. “Nowadays they operate between 32 to 36 cultivation centres [the number varies because concessions are opened and closed, depending on harvesting and stocking]. And five years from now they could be 36 to 44 in total."
Very good conditions
Blumar acquired sites in the region when it bought the company Riverfish in 2014, and plans to start using them soon. "There are concessions granted and others in an advanced stage in the granting process, which total approximately 20, and the plan is to enter fish during the second half of 2018," said Blumar CEO Gerardo Balbontín. The firm's program is to produce 25,000 tons of salmon in the area.
"Magallanes presents very good conditions for the cultivation of salmon and with the current regulation that regulates the growth, we think that the production in that region will reach a sustainable level according to the load capacity," said Balbontín.
Meanwhile, Multiexport Foods is in the final stage of evaluating an expansion of its operations to the Magallanes. According to general manager of the company, Andrés Lyon, there will be fish in the water during 2018.
At the end of 2016 the company had six concessions in the area and has two applications in the pipeline. In addition, it submitted to the Environmental Impact Assessment System a project whose investment reaches $27.6 million, to produce 5,160 tons of salmon in the Magallanes region.
According to information gathered in the market, Cermaq plans to produce approximately 20,000 tons of salmon in the region, after finishing 2016 with about 16,000 tons. Australis Seafoods harvested 10,500 tons of trout last year in the area and this year estimates to double that volume to 21,000 tons.
After completing production of 25,000 tons in 2016, Nova Austral plans to finish 2017 with 29,000 tons, growing 16 per cent. Meanwhile, Salmon Magellan will expand almost 30 per cent this year, from 17,000 tons to 22,000 tons.