Scottish sector explores opportunities in Chile
WITH salmon production in Chile reaching record levels (according to aquaculture information management firm Aquabench) in the last few months, and the market strong, a small but representative Scottish delegation descended on the biennial Aqua Sur exhibition, held in Puerto Montt in October.
Salmon farming in Chile generates a reported 35,000 direct jobs and 40,000 indirect jobs in the Los Lagos region alone and there are significant opportunities for enterprising overseas suppliers.
Taking advantage of these was Dundee based Ace Aquatec, which had its own stand at the show for the first time (see Containment, page 44), while OTAQ and the Institute of Aquaculture were represented on the UK’s GREAT booth, set up by the British Chambers of Commerce and the embassy.
Also there from Scotland were delegates from Marine Scotland, Scottish Development International, the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC), and Scottish Enterprise.
Tasmyn Ewart, of Scottish Enterprise, which supported Ace Aquatec’s presence at the show, said Chile – and South America – offer a huge opportunity for innovative Scottish companies through the aquaculture supply chain.
‘The event was a great opportunity for collaboration between universities, research institutions and Chilean counterparts,’ she told Fish Farmer.
The GREAT stand featured Swansea University and CEFAS, too, but was dominated by Scotland and promoted Scotland’s sustainable aquaculture sector.
The embassy pulled together a programme for the participants of the GREAT stand to go and visit a Marine Harvest site at Chiloe Island, and gain an overview of the aquaculture sector in the country.
And the British ambassador, Jamie Bowden, organised a series of technical talks led by the UK participants, and hosted a networking reception.
There were a number of talks by Chilean government and research institutions around the direction of the Chilean market, said Ewart, with the very clear message that they wanted to grow but must do so sustainably.
SAIC’s senior innovation manager Don Fowler said he was there to assess the market opportunity for Scottish/UK supply chain businesses in Chilean aquaculture, and to seek collaborative opportunities for Scottish aquaculture.
‘They are still in recovery and adapting to new regulations on biomass and stocking, and going through a site re-location exercise,’ said Fowler.
‘But with the right synergies between the regulators and companies and communities, the future looks optimistic.The challenges remain, which are opportunities – sea lice, algal blooms, emerging diseases and predation control.’
He said he had good discussions with Intesal (the Instituto Tecnológico del Salmón), which may lead to joint Scotland/Chile projects.
And he visited the Marine Harvest site as part of the UK delegation, and alongside the Canadian delegation.
This, he said, was very interesting, with 5,000 tonnes biomass and 6,000 tonnes consent.
‘The Chilean market is large, three times as big as Scotland’s, and there is real opportunity for supply chain companies from the UK and Scotland.’
Above: Marine Scotland’s Alasdair Mitchell and Mike Palmer; SAIC’s Don Fowler and the Institute of Aquaculture’s James Dick visiting a Marine Harvest site in Chile
Making the most of these opportunities will require an innovation mindset with innovative products, uency in the language, cultural understanding and local market presence. He also noted a strong presence from Canadian and Danish companies at Aqua Sur.
Following the enthusiasm of this year’s Scottish mission, there has been talk of a Scottish stand at the 2020 exhibition, along the lines of the
With the right synergies between the regulators and companies and communities, the future looks c’” optimisti