2016 was a turbulent year for MH Chile: production decreased by 42%; like other companies, they faced a severe algal bloom; they appointed a new general manager; announced the sale of their former offices in Camino El Tepual to Cooke Aquaculture; and resigned from Salmonchile (the industry’s producer association).
Speaking to Salmonexpert, Gjerde commented on some of these events.
How do you evaluate the performance of Marine Harvest Chile over the years and envisage the future of the Chilean industry?
It has been a pleasure to be in charge of our operations in Chile. We have had some challenges, especially the algal bloom last year, but I must give all my collaborators credit for their impressive effort. As the new COO Farming for Norway and Chile, I will be able to continue working with my good and competent colleagues in MH Chile, and so continue my work to improve our operations in this country. I think salmon farming could be the most important industry in Chile. The conditions for aquaculture are perfect and, with the right standards, our future is very bright.
What do you think of the regulatory changes that Subpesca has introduced after MHC's departure from Salmonchile?
Although we are no longer part of Salmonchile, we are trying to work together with different players in the sector to ensure smarter regulation of the industry. Over the past year, we have had a series of meetings with different politicians, and we are happy to see more interest from this area in the industry. When it comes to the new model, I believe that this new regulation will be a temporary regulation. Marine Harvest will continue to advocate a new and predictable law, and I am convinced that Chilean politicians will find a solution to make the industry more sustainable. We understand that the new laws are not made in six months, but I think this should be our goal.
What will be the biggest challenges in your new position?
I will have to cover a large geographic area, so I guess time, in general, will be my biggest challenge.
Who is your successor?
We recently reported that Fernando Villarroel, currently COO of Cermaq Canada, will take over as general manager of Marine Harvest Chile on May 1st. He has stood out for good results throughout his positions around the world, and I am sure he is the right candidate to continue the improvement work we have begun in Chile.