July 6, 2010


Chile's seafood exports drops 18.7% on-year



Chilean aquaculture exports have dropped to a lower value of US$775.7 million in Q1 2010, reports the Subsecretariat of Fisheries (SUBPESCA).


The export volume amounted to 150,780 tonnes, reflecting a decrease of 31.2% compared to the same period in 2009 (219,091 tonnes).


Aquaculture sector exports accounted for 70% (USD 1112.5 million) of total Chilean fish exports and 46.8% of the volume of exports (322,400 tonnes) up until April 2010.


Of the total sent abroad in the first quarter of the year, 40,916 tonnes were rainbow trout, representing a drop of 2.1% when compared to the same quarter in 2009 (41,803 tonnes).


However, these shipments generated USD 265.8 million, 17.5% more than in the same period last year, when USD 226.2 million was generated.


Meanwhile, 30,768 tonnes of atlantic salmon were sold abroad, 60.4% less than in the first quarter of 2009 (77,680 tonnes). These sales contributed US$218.5 million, while a year ago, the final figure amounted to US$432.4 million, marking a difference of 49.5%.


In addition, 41,310 tonnes of pacific salmon were exported, 15.3% less than in the first quarter of 2009 (48,754 tonnes). Foreign shipments of pacific salmon totalled US$203.6 million, or 3.8% less than in the first quarter of last year, when they totalled US$211.6 million.


Subpesca stressed that mussel again gave positive numbers thanks to the recovery of the main European markets (Spain and Italy) and the US. This mollusc exports experienced an annual increase of 26.4%, going from USD 32.5 million to US$41.1 million.


In the first quarter of 2010 105,500 tonnes of frozen seafood products were exported, 28.3% less than in the first quarter of 2009 (147,200 tonnes). These products were sold abroad for USD 544 million, 21% less than the same period last year (US$688.4 million).


The main markets for frozen products were Japan and the US, although both destinations showed decreases in both value and volume exported.


Between January and April 2010, 20,000 tonnes of chilled fresh aquatic products were exported, down 33.4% from the same period last year (30,000 tonnes). Foreign shipments of these resources generated US$150.2 million, down 19.8% when compared to 2009 (US$187.2 million).


In this case, the main markets were the US and Brazil, together making up 90.4% of its total value. The most exported fresh products were atlantic salmon, rainbow trout, pacific salmon and oysters.


Despite improvements in some cases, local industry fears that there is a resurgence of the financial crisis, so in the next 60 days an atmosphere of restlessness and nervousness will prevail. The months of September, October and November when the summer break ends and retail stores and distributors set their purchases for the rest of the year, will be key to the future of producers and exporters.