Search

 

Cablegate: Chile's South Is Salmon Country

P 241617Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3428
INFO DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHDC
DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

UNCLAS SANTIAGO 000597

STATE FOR WHA/BSC
AGRICULTURE FOR OCRA - BZANIN
COMMERCE FOR KMANN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD ECON PREL CI
SUBJECT: CHILE'S SOUTH IS SALMON COUNTRY

1. Summary: Ambassador and Foreign Agricultural Service Attach
visited Chile's salmon industry from June 5-8. Salmon and trout
production are the main components of Chile's second-largest (after
copper) export industry. Fish exports are valued at over $2.2
billion annually, representing nearly 4 percent of Chile's total
exports. The industry has come under increasing pressure due to
lax environmental regulation. The Bachelet administration
acknowledged significant problems by ordering the Minister of
Economy to increase oversight and regulation. End Summary.

2. The Ambassador visited Chile's tenth region, accompanied by the
Foreign Agricultural Service Attach (FAS), from June 5-8 mainly to
take stock of Chile's all important salmon sector. The salmon
sector has come under increasing pressure in recent months from the
international media, environmentalists and the spread of a virus
deadly to the fish themselves. The industry is overwhelmingly
located in and around Chile's main southern port of Puerto Montt.
This geographic concentration is seen as one of the key components
of the sector's explosive growth as well as current problems.
Second only to copper in terms of dollar value of Chilean exports,
salmon exports were USD 2.2 billion in 2007 (one third of which went
to the U.S.). The industry is also a key employer, with 53,000
direct employees and up to 100,000 jobs indirectly linked to it.

3. The Ambassador met with General Manager Rodrigo Infante of
Salmon Chile, an industry association representing nearly 80 percent
of salmon companies operating in Chile. Chile primarily produces
Pacific and Atlantic salmon. Pacific salmon is exported to the
Japanese market, and Atlantic salmon to the United States. The
industry says it welcomes further cooperation with food inspection
agencies in the United States (the Food and Drug Administration) and
in Chile (the Servicio Nacional de Pesca or SERNAPESCA). On paper,
Chile has a relatively sophisticated system for monitoring
aquaculture. Growing conditions and production inputs are carefully
documented, and the industry has a sophisticated system for tracing
every fish from the hatchery to the store where it is bought.
Nonetheless, the picture is not entirely rosy.

4. Infante of Salmon Chile told the Ambassador that with the
ongoing outbreak of Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA), the industry is
likely to reduce its production. Infante also mentioned the New
York Times article of March 2008, which criticized the use of
antibiotics and generally portrayed Chile's industry as unregulated
and unhealthy. In response, he pointed out that Chilean salmon is
consumed daily by more than 6 million people worldwide in some 60
international markets. Despite these impressive figures, everyone
from President Bachelet on down has acknowledged that the industry's
success has also brought problems. In the wake of the negative
publicity beginning with the New York Times article, she appointed a
panel lead by Minister of Economy Lavados to increase regulation and
oversight.

5. The Ambassador and FAS attach also visited Multiexport Foods
lake operation in Lake Llanquihue. This site produces over 12
million juvenile salmon per year for later transport to ocean farms.
According to industry officials, aquaculture poses a limited
environmental impact, which is localized and fully reversible
through natural processes. However, local contacts tell the
Embassy that other trout species have disappeared since the salmon
and trout farming activity started.

6. Comment: Although the Salmon industry as done extremely well
over the last ten years, with double digit growth rates the norm,
this very success is coming back to bite it. It is having trouble
maintaining the outbreak of diseases and minimizing its
environmental impact. The industry has simply been unregulated too
long, in addition to being too concentrated geographically. The
Bachelet administration is trying to increase oversight and move the
sector to a more sustainable path. In addition to the visit to
Puerto Montt, the Ambassador has met with salmon industry
representatives in Santiago. The Embassy will continue to monitor
the health of the sector and the possible implications for the
health of the U.S. consumer.

URBAN

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO: