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Chilean salmon exports to Russia increased tenfold in decade

Staff writer |
While the United States and Japan have always been the most important destinations for Chilean salmon, other markets have been gaining ground rapidly.

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That is the case of Brazil and Russia. Exports of fresh salmon and local frozen products to the South American giant has grown 537 per cent from 2005 to date, and the shipments to Russia have increased tenfold in that period.

Ten years ago shipments to Brazil totalled 14,818 tonnes but at present they amount to 94,334 tonnes, according to the Association of Chilean Salmon Industry (SalmonChile). With this, Brazil already represents about 16 per cent of shipments of Chilean products abroad.

The general manager of the union, Felipe Manterola, explained that the significant increase of Brazil's participation in total shipments has to do with the demographic composition the country has, incorporating in Sao Paulo one of the largest colonies of Japanese inhabitants in the world, so that consumption has been driven by Japanese food, being sushi restaurants an engine of this growth.

In that market, salmon consumption in restaurants is much stronger than that of households. However, this segment could bring good news to the local industry in the future.

"We believe that Brazil will be a market that will continue to grow by way of consumption at home," he said.

In the case of Russia, which currently receives 63,000 tonnes per year, one of the most important factors of increased demand for Chilean salmon is explained by the embargo that the country imposed on imports of some native foods from the European Union.

Such a ban affected mainly Norway, the largest salmon producer in the world and main competitor of the Chilean industry.

In 2005, only 6,000 tonnes were shipped to Russia. In 2012, shipments had reached 22,000, and the following year, imports of Chilean salmon to the country amounted to 52,780 tonnes.

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