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Camanchaca farming facilities (Photo: Camanchaca)

Camanchaca not to renew leases and to focus on increasing production

Click on the flag for more information about Chile CHILE
Friday, April 21, 2017, 01:40 (GMT + 9)

Camanchaca plans to stock between 10 and 11 million smolts a year, with which it is expected to reach Atlantic salmon harvests amounting to 50,000 tonnes by 2020. In the fisheries business, it is ensured that the catches obtained are the largest in many years in the north of Chile.

The company this Tuesday presented its 2016 results to the shareholders meeting, and reported on its investment plans and targets for this year.

According to the president of the company, Jorge Fernandez, the year 2016 "offered a lot of great challenges" for the firm.

In this sense, he recalled that last summer, part of salmon production was altered by the alga bloom, which affected three fattening centres. This resulted in the death of 2.8 million fish, estimated at USD 25 million, and reduced the salmon harvest by about 15,000 tonnes.

The conversion of mortality into fishmeal and fish oil made it possible for the company to soften the impact of the accident a little.

This was added to a strong impact of the 2015-2016 El Niño phenomenon -- considered the most severe of the last 65 years -- in the northern fisheries, where "anchovy catches fell to the lowest level in almost 20 years due to the absence of fish suitable for fishing".

The president of Camanchaca noted that catches declined by about 75 per cent compared to 2014, which was the last year before this phenomenon, and this represented an estimated loss of USD 20 million, compared to a normal year.

But in the first months of this year oceanographic conditions have been normalized and with it, the situation for fishing and aquaculture.

"In the first months of 2017, we have obtained the largest catches in many years in northern Chile and the normalization of temperatures has generated better conditions in the south," he said.

In addition, he pointed out that the limited salmon supply has generated higher prices, which, together with lower costs, have improved the company's position.

For its part, Camanchaca's general manager, Ricardo Garcia Holtz, announced the cessation of concession leases to other partners in order to increase the company's production levels.

The entrepreneur argued that because of the new sanitary regulations, "those who want to expand stockings beyond what has been stocked and that do not have an excellent sanitary performance, production can imply that it is 15 per cent more expensive, which has led to analysts to believe it will lower production," Pulso reported.

Garcia said that the company will not renew the lease contracts and will use those concessions to project growth.

"Stockings of the previous period will be performed apart from the stockings of leaseholders in our concessions. These stocking baselines will generate annual stocking potential of 10.5 million Atlantic salmon from 2018 onwards, resulting in harvests of 50,000 tonnes (WFE) by the end of this decade," he explained.

"As of December 2016 Camanchaca maintained eight leased farming concessions for the trout business, which have generated a profit for Camanchaca of USD 3 million. One million more fish are being stocked in them, and the results have been outstanding," he added .

He also commented that "restrictions on Norwegian products in Russia and China opened great opportunities for Camanchaca in these territories," allowing them to increase sales to the Russian market.

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