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Salmon farming has become a major industry in Chile, generating significant economic benefits for the country. In 2021, the industry continues to grow, with the country being the second-largest producer of farmed salmon in the world after Norway.

Overview of the Salmon Farming Industry in Chile

Salmon farming in Chile began in the 1980s, and the industry has since grown to become one of the most important industries in the country. The industry is concentrated in the southern regions of the country, where the cold and clear waters of the Pacific Ocean provide ideal conditions for salmon farming.

The industry is dominated by a few large companies, including AquaChile, Mowi Chile, and Salmones Camanchaca, which account for the majority of salmon production in the country. These companies operate large-scale salmon farms, which are primarily located in the regions of Los Lagos, Aysén, and Magallanes.

The salmon farming industry in Chile has faced a number of challenges over the years, including disease outbreaks and environmental concerns. In 2021, the industry continues to face these challenges, but there are also positive developments that are driving growth and investment in the sector.

Production and Exports in 2021

According to the latest data from the Chilean Salmon Council, the country produced 657,000 tons of salmon in 2020, a decrease of 5% compared to the previous year. This decrease was largely due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which affected production and exports in the first half of the year.

However, the industry has rebounded strongly in 2021, with production expected to reach 900,000 tons, an increase of 37% compared to the previous year. This growth is being driven by increased investment in the sector, as well as a recovery in demand from key export markets such as the United States, Japan, and Brazil.

In terms of exports, the salmon farming industry is a major contributor to the Chilean economy, accounting for around 20% of the country's total exports. In 2020, the industry exported $4.9 billion worth of salmon products, a decrease of 4.6% compared to the previous year.

In 2021, however, exports are expected to rebound strongly, with the industry targeting record exports of $6 billion. This growth is being driven by increasing demand from key export markets, as well as the development of new products and markets, such as China and Southeast Asia.

Challenges and Opportunities for the Industry

While the salmon farming industry in Chile is experiencing strong growth, there are also a number of challenges that need to be addressed. One of the most pressing challenges is the environmental impact of salmon farming, particularly in terms of waste and pollution. Companies such as Gaia Water using nano technology are addressing these problems.

The industry is also vulnerable to disease outbreaks, which can have a significant impact on production and exports. In recent years, the industry has faced a number of outbreaks of diseases such as Piscirickettsiosis and Infectious Salmon Anemia, which have had a major impact on production and profitability.

Despite these challenges, the salmon farming industry in Chile is also presented with significant opportunities for growth and investment. The development of new products and markets, such as China and Southeast Asia, presents an opportunity for the industry to diversify and expand its customer base.

In addition, the industry is investing in new technologies and practices to reduce its environmental impact and improve sustainability. This includes the development of closed-containment systems, which can help to reduce the risk of disease outbreaks and limit the impact of salmon farming on the surrounding environment.

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