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High prices of fishmeal to soften impact on lack of production
Date: 2010/8/10 Click: 1837
The Chilean fishmeal industry believes that the high prices which are paid for their products in international markets, will compensate for the decline in production which was experienced this year. The decline has been considered as a consequence of the earthquake and tsunami that occurred last February, which led to the lowest catch of mackerel in Region VIII and a delay in sardine and anchovy fishing.

According to the General Manager of the National Fisheries Society (Sonapesca), Hector Bacigalupo, 2010 will be "a complex year" due to the decline in the production of fishmeal, which is expected to fluctuate between 30 and 40 per cent over the figures seen in 2009.

According to statistics provided by Sonapesca, the industry produced 611,000 tonnes of the product and exports totaled USD 607 million last year, a figure 23 per cent higher than in 2008.

This year, the average price of fishmeal reached USD 1,628 per tonne.

"That should largely offset the losses that will be generated as a result of stopping production due to a lack of raw materials. Not all, but a good part," said Bacigalupo.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) recently said that "the price of fishmeal in China has risen in recent months yet inventories in Chinese ports have reached their lowest recorded levels, suggesting that prices will remain high in the coming months."

This data was confirmed by the Chilean fishing sector, which also anticipated that prices in 2011 would average between USD 1,500 and USD 1,700 per tonne.

Although Sonapesca avoided making any predictions, Bacigalupo is confident that demand will continue.

"We have some level of tranquility. Structurally we are seeing that the world is demanding more food, which benefits the purchase of fishmeal. We believe that demand is structurally solid," said the General Manager of Sonapesca.

With regards to the capture of mackerel, the fishermen in the south faced a decline in catches, which according to Sonapesca, was 38 per cent lower compared to 2009.

Sardine and Anchovy catches also declined, with a drop of 20 per cent compared to last year.

Meanwhile the head of the Subsecretariat for Fisheries (Subpesca), Pablo Galilea, said that the government is considering lowering the jack mackerel quota in 2011, from 1.3 million tonnes to 850,000 tonnes.
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