Market Intelligence
Agricultural Equipment and Machinery Chile

Chile Aquaculture

A world class food exporter and the second largest producer and exporter of salmon, Chile welcomes U.S. innovations that promote sustainability.

Chile has competitive and comparative advantages to develop sustainable aquaculture. Salmon is the animal protein that is most suitable for aquaculture for both human consumption and other applications. Salmon aquaculture uses 13 times less water and has a carbon print ten times less than stockbreeding. 

Beginning 40 years ago, Chilean salmon farming has become one of the country’s economic success stories registering $5.2 billion of exports in 2021. The industry has also been a critical economic driver in Chile’s southernmost provinces of Los Lagos, Aysén, and Magallanes by creating over 70,000 jobs and supporting over 4,000 companies. According to the Chilean Salmon Council, the main export markets in 2021 were the U.S., followed by Japan, Brazil, Russia, and Mexico.  These five countries account for over 85% of exports, with the U.S. growing by 33.7% followed by Brazil with a growth of 63.5%, when compared to the previous year. 

However, the negative environmental impact associated with salmon farming has led to efforts by the Chilean government and salmon industry to introduce stricter reforms and standards to make the industry more environmentally sustainable. Some of the issues that that the industry needs to address include reducing seabed impacts and the use of antibiotics to improve fish health. While the Monterey Bay Aquarium has reported a 15 percent reduction in the use of antibiotics in Chilean salmon, the industry has still been cited for an overreliance on these chemicals. The Chilean Salmon Council, a trade association of the largest salmon producers, has a collaborative agreement with the Monterey Bay Aquarium to further reduce the use of antibiotics by 50% by 2025.  In 2021, Chile’s leading salmon farming companies and industry suppliers signed a Clean Production Agreement to manage carbon and water usage and reduce energy consumption. Production centers have also begun to incorporate new technologies like underwater robots, online environmental monitoring, high class nets and cages.

Export opportunities and best prospects:
Some best export prospects for the industry include: 

•    Treatment/eradication of harmful algae
•    Water treatment systems for aquaculture production centers
•    Systems to prevent fish leak from cages
•    Reinforced cage structures
•    Reinforced nets
•    Remediation of seabed
•    Desalination plants
•    Production system operations
•    Control of residues on beaches
•    Systems to help reduce the use of antibiotics and antiparasitic products
•    Vaccines
•    Systems to minimize the impact on seabed and the environment
•    Diving security devices
•    Robots to help minimize necessary risk jobs 

For additional information contact:  Mary.Lathrop@trade.gov

02/24/2022