Aquaculture in Chile

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Photo of shoreline with buildings next to the shore and woody hillside in the background
Aquaculture installations in southern Chile

Aquaculture is a major economic activity in Chile. Among the diverse aquacultures practised in Chile Atlantic salmon aquaculture is overwhelmingly the largest sector. Until 2007 Chile experienced over 15 years a huge growth in its salmon aquaculture, becoming the second largest salmon and trout producer after Norway.[1][2] By 2006 Chile contributed with 38% of the world's salmon volume just behind Norway that produced 39% of it.[1] In 2006 salmon from Chilean aquacultures was the third largest export product in terms of value, representing 3.9% of Chilean exports behind copper and molybdenum.[1]

Apart from salmon and trout, Chilean aquaculture also produces turbots and molluscs, in particular Mytilus platensis (still often referred to as Mytilus chilensis), Northern scallops, Pacific oysters, Aulacomya ater (a giant mussel), red abalone, and Chilean oysters.[1] In terms of algae Gracillaria chilensis is cultivated and harvested.[1] The main areas of aquaculture in Chile lie in the southern half of the country in particular in the interior waters of Los Lagos Region and to a lesser extent the fjords and channels of more southern Aysén and Magallanes regions.[1]

Aquaculture in Chile is regulated by the 1989 Fisheries and Aquaculture Law, and concessions on waterbodies and other state property for establishment of aquacultures are granted by the Ministry of Defence.[3]

Chilean salmon crisis[edit]

The industry has suffered a severe recession since the sudden appearance and outbreak of infectious salmon anemia in 2007 coupled with the Late-2000s financial crisis. This has led the crisis to have been labeled "the perfect storm" by a Chilean salmon executive.[who?][4] Atlantic salmon production in Chile has fallen from 400,000 to 100,000 tonnes from 2005 to 2010.[5] As of 2009 a salmon executive expected production to go back to the 2007 levels within four years.[2]


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