Chilean salmonid exports were worth a record $6.6 bn last year

High prices and small volume increase pushed earnings up by 27%


Chilean salmon and trout exports were worth a record US $6.6 billion last year, figures from the country’s National Customs Service show.

Chile, the world’s second-largest producer of farmed salmon, exported 751,000 tonnes of salmon and trout worth $6.605 bn in 2022.

Both the value and volume of exports increased compared to 2021, when Chile shipped 723,000 tonnes of salmonids worth $5.189 bn. Value of exports in 2022 increased by 27.3%, and volume by 3.8%.

The United States remained the Chilean industry’s biggest customer, buying 251,131 tonnes of salmon and trout for $2.845 bn. Volume and value were up 5% and 25% respectively from 239,575 tonnes worth $2.281 bn in 2021.

Big in Japan

Japan bought 160,400 tonnes (2021: 159,473 tonnes) of salmonids for $1.208 bn ($1.032 bn), and China took 25,415 tonnes worth $188 million, up by 58% in volume and 83% in value compared to 2021, as it opened up after Covid.

Brazil was again a major customer for Chile last year, buying 122,567 tonnes of salmonids worth $804 m, a 5% decrease in volume and 20% increase in returns year on year.

Sales grew in Mexico, which imported 17,673 tonnes of Chilean salmonids for $194 m. Volume was up 11% and returns by 38% compared to 2021.

Chile exported 35,385 tonnes of salmonids to Russia, 30% less than in 2021, and earned $276 m, down by $15 m (5%) year on year.

The Salmon Council, which represents four of the top five Atlantic salmon farmers in Chile, said 2022 was a year of recovery in salmon exports following Covid-19.

Optimistic for 2023

“We are optimistic for this year and we hope that in 2023 exports will remain dynamic, either in terms of tonnes exported or in their value in dollars, as this is positive for this productive activity and the entire value chain that is generated around mainly in the southern macro-zone of Chile,” said the organisation’s executive director, Loreto Seguel.

Arturo Clément, president of SalmonChile, which represents the rest of Chile’s salmon farmers, said the significant increase in salmon export earnings during 2022 was related to the good prices being achieved in the most markets.

“This figure, which marks a historical record in the value of exports for our productive sector, ratifies the work that companies have done, which, in addition to growing, have added greater value to their products following the world trend regarding consumption of healthy and sustainable proteins such as salmon,” said Clément.

“It is relevant to point out that, unlike last year, this increase does not correspond to a higher volume of production, but to better prices and greater added value in the products. In addition, this increase offsets the effects that the situations in China and Russia had on demand.”