AquaSur 2016 blog: Full recap of the show

IntraFish is reporting live from Puerto Montt, Chile. Check back here to get all the updates from the show floor.

Thursday, Oct. 20, 7:00 p.m. CLST

Cargill says omega-3 project in US shows promise

Einar Wathne, president of Cargill Aqua Nutrition, said Thursday the fish feed giant is seeing progress on a project to obtain omega-3 from canola in Minnesota, US.

The company announced it is feasible to replace much of the marine oil the industry is using today with a new technique by which scientists genetically modify canola seeds to produce omega-3s.

“Now, for the first time, we know this can be done at industrial levels, and we are submitting this technique for regulatory approval, which we think may take three to five years,” Wathne told IntraFish.

“After that we want to launch it commercially.”

The omega-3 rich ingredient produced from canola is now being trialed in Chile to assess any secondary effects, and the impact the feed has in fish health.

Cargill will submit the results of the trials to authorities in the coming months as part of the authorization process.

Click here to see an introduction video to Cargill's project.

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Thursday, Oct. 20, 6:00 p.m. CLST

Cermaq CEO: What happened in Chile would never have happened in Norway

Geir Molvik, who took over as Cermaq CEO earlier this year after the departure of Jon Hindar, talked about the deep differences between the Norwegian and the Chilean salmon industries.

The head of the $800 million-turnover company said the “constant discount” in Chilean salmon prices has more to do with production structures in the country of origin than the actual markets where the product is sold.

In Norway, Molvik said, there is willingness to invest in R&D, there is a big investment in promotion, in branding and product positioning, and there are regulations adapted to sustainable growth.

“I will not say if this is the case in Chile, I leave that for all of you to judge,” Molvik said.

Looking back at this year’s misfortunes, Molvik assured what happened in Chile – referring to the roads blockage by the fishermen’s demonstrations – would never have happened in Norway.

“Farming licenses and permit sites are separated in Norway,” he said.

The situation added more uncertainty to the already unstable Chilean salmon supply.

“We were not able to supply our product for three weeks, we could not serve our customers, and therefore we were not seen as a reliable provider,” Molvik said.

Cermaq produces 60 percent of its total output in Chile. In 2015, the company produced 88,000 metric tons of coho, Atlantic salmon and trout.

"Chile offers the same opportunities that Norway does, there is much potential in this country for salmon farming," he said.

According to Molvik, there needs to be a fundamental regulatory change to improve the situation of the industry, but it is equally important that Chilean producers need to build up stronger pillars in the supply chain, and communicate better with clients and employees.

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Thursday, Oct. 20, 3:54 p.m. CLST

Sernapesca launches $7.5 million R&D initiative

Jose Miguel Burgos, director of Chile’s National Service of Fisheries and Aquaculture (Sernapesca) announced the launch of the CLP 5 billion  (€7 million/$7.5 million) project, the Integrated System for Aquaculture Management (SIMA), funded by the Fund of Strategic Investment (FIE) and the Ministry of Economy.

The platform will allow Sernapesca for better data collection, detailed information that will improve strategic decision making in the fields of biosecurity and fish health diagnosis.  

The scope stage of the SIMA project started in 2015 and will run until November 2016, and its results will lead to the start of the implementation stage, which is expected to run from 2017 through 2018.

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Thursday, Oct. 20, 2:15 p.m. CLST

Pacific Alliance takes off to a great future

State secretaries from Chile, Peru, Mexico and Colombia inaugurated the Pacific Alliance stand at AquaSur 2016, only a few months after the cooperation agreement between the countries was signed in Chile.

“It is a very important day, we are consolidating this idea that was born in the latest ministers’ meeting,” Raul Sunico, undersecretary of fisheries in Chile told IntraFish.

“The Pacific Ocean is one of the largest reservoirs of seafood in the world. Between all of us, we can create a magnificent synergy to promote domestic consumption in our respective countries, and to boost our position in the world as seafood providers,” Sunico said.

Through the alliance, the countries will cooperate by sharing information, technologies, knowledge and quality and safety standards to unify forces and grow as a seafood resource reference.

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Thursday, Oct. 20,1:45 p.m. CLST

What drives the Millennial’s choices?

The United States of Anxiety is the term Jeane McKnight, founder of McKnight & Co, used to address the new consumption trends in the United States … of America

Eight parameters are the main drivers of purchase choices at American supermarkets. In order they are: price, visual appeal, health benefits, sustainability, farmed vs wild, packaging, country of origin, and fresh vs frozen, McKnight told delegates.

But generational changes are leading to new trends defining the markets. These days, the X generation and the Millennials seek out food characteristics the Baby-boomers do not worry about.

“Millennials not only don’t cook, they actually don’t learn to cook, they don’t have the time,” McKnight said.

According to new findings, McKnight said new trends lead to different factors driving consumption: Clean labels;simplified and trustworthy ingredients; organic and natural origin; health (food as medicine); and animal welfare.

While Chile is and will most likely remain to be the main exporter of salmon to the United States, misinformation and lack of knowledge about Chile and the rest of South American countries is getting in the way of growth.

Speaking to attendees of AquaForum, McKnight highlighted the importance of the promotional campaign Salmon from Chile in the states and other importing countries.

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Thursday, Oct. 20,1:24 p.m. CLST

High salmon prices don't threaten demand, expert says

Economist Dag Sletmo of DNB Bank talked to delegates at AquaSur's AquaForum 2016 Conference about the main drivers behind the economics of the salmon industry.

As in any other markets, price, costs and volumes set the finances of the sector.

With volumes poised to remain stable through the next couple of years, Sletmo suggested prices will remain above historic prices, but not as high as they are these days in the short term.

However, for those worried the salmon industry in Norway may collapse – as has the oil industry – Sletmo had a positive outlook: demand of salmon will continue to grow, and although alternatives such as chicken or pork are cheaper, consumer will still seek out salmon, especially in the long term.

In Chile, high production costs are, to a large extent, explained by foreign exchange rates, and although this is expected to benefit the country in the near future, costs are not likely to go down.

“In the industry, every year, salmon farmers think costs will normalize and decrease, just like in finance we expect interest rates will normalize and increase, but it doesn’t happen,” Sletmo said.

In addition, prices in the United States for Norwegian salmon against Chilean salmon are very affected by exchange rate.

“A consumer in Boston sees the price in US dollar, not whether producers pay in Norwegian krone or Chilean peso,” Sletmo said.

A relatively new factor influencing costs in the industry is the full biological utilization, which increases risks and therefore costs.

But according to the economist, mergers in the industry, the creation of bigger companies, innovation, license developments and R+D programs in different fields and, especially in genetics, will benefit the industry and optimize costs in the future.

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Thursday, Oct. 20,10:10 a.m. CLST

Climate change prompts search for new aquaculture species

The effects of global warming are visible in the oceans -- and this year, more than ever before, it has taken its toll in Chile.

“We have seen in Chile how high temperatures are affecting our resources,” said Raul Sunico, the country's subsecretary of fisheries and aquaculture.

Sunico talked about the duty the industry has in estimating the actual impact, the possible outcomes and solutions to the oceanographic changes.

“We cannot ignore this, and we cannot delay the implementations of measures to adapt to the new conditions,” Sunico said.

“We are looking for new species that can be farmed in the new conditions that are presenting in our coasts.”

He announced the government’s commitment to invest in research in order to diversify aquaculture production in Chile.

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Thursday, Oct. 20, 9:30. a.m. CLST

SalmonChile calls on government to step up

Felipe Sandoval, president of SalmonChile highlighted the importance the aquaculture sector has in Chile both for local communities and for the country's economy in his opening speech at AquaSur on Wednesday.

Sandoval said the Chilean government has to step up and not delegate industry-related issues to officials not intimate with the sector.

“The path to find a solution to gain back competitiveness goes through an integral involvement of the state, with the diverse institutions related with the industry,” Sandoval said.

“However, this hasn't been possible and everything related to aquaculture has been delegated to the sector authorities, without the due diligence of attributions."

Sandoval said he expected more authorities from the central government to be present at industry meetings in the future.

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Thursday, Oct. 20, 9:10. a.m. CLST

Cargill relying heavily on government support

Feed giant Cargill -- which opened a $10.5 million innovation facility earlier this week -- claims to be the one company relying most on the government’s program to support research projects in Chile.

The Chilean Development Corporation (Corfo), the state department responsible for supporting research projects in the private sector, offers a tax incentive to private companies. Eligible firms receive 35 percent of the investment they make in research and development.

“We are the company in Chile that uses this tool the most,” said Javier Gonzalez, technical director at Cargill.

In fact, it was one of the reasons for the company to create its center in Chile, he said.

Coupled with cost benefits, less red tape, and SRS and sea lice issues in Chile -- which cost the country's salmon sector on average $1 billion a year -- it was the perfect setting for a project.

“We support private projects aimed to diversify the industry," said Adolfo Alvial, general director of Corfo in Los Lagos.

"There is this tax incentive program, but we also have other strategic investment programs in the aquaculture industry.

“When Cargill came to us with this proposal we were very pleased to be able to participate in this platform of collaboration.

“We work to identify the gaps that make difficult the growth in the country, to produce more sustainably we have to find ways of preventing disease, rather than treat them, and this is a great opportunity."

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Wednesday, Oct. 19, 4:10 p.m. CLST

Salmon producers 'unjustified target of criticism'

AquaSur 2016 kicked off Wednesday in Puerto Montt, Chile, with authorities and representatives of the industry calling for collaboration to tackle the main problem the Chilean industry is facing: the decline in competitiveness against the world's other major salmon producers.

And the slow pace with which Chilean authorities are dealing with regulations is once again at the top of the agenda at the event.

“It’s been six years since the implementation of the current system, and it doesn't work, we don’t have a solution yet,” said Victor Hugo Puchi, founder and president of AquaChile, speaking to media at AquaSur.

Click here to read the full story.

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Wednesday, Oct. 19, 11:30 a.m. CLST

Welcome to AquaSur 2016!

AquaSur 2016 kicked off Wednesday in Puerto Montt, Chile.

During the four-day event, international organizations will hold activities engaging both the public and industry, including workshops and food tastings.

Delegates will be attend bilateral meetings held by sector authorities of Chile and other South American countries, conferences and presentations of different products.

IntraFish will be reporting live from the floor, so check back here to get all the news from the show floor.

We kicked off things with a visit to Cargill's new innovation center on Tuesday. Click here to read our coverage of the official opening ceremony.

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