Chilean salmon exports return to pre-pandemic levels

C hile: Already at the end of 2021, the figures show a recovery to levels higher than those registered prior to the health crisis due to Covid 19, after the 14.6% drop evidenced in 2020.

A year of blue numbers gave account of Chilean salmon farming. This, given the recent Chilean salmon export figures, based on data provided by the Department of Studies of the National Customs Service. Between January and December 2021, 723 thousand tons of salmon and trout were exported, valued at US$5,189 million, while, on the same date in 2020, 779 thousand tons were shipped for US$4,388 million, which represents an increase of 18 % in returns and a decrease of 8% in volume.

Meanwhile, comparing the figures with the previous period (November 2021), in the last month of the year 68 thousand tons valued at US$513 million were exported, while during November the amounts shipped were 71 thousand tons for US$542 million, representing a decrease of 5% and 6%, respectively.

According to the “Quarterly Report on Salmon Exports” corresponding to the fourth quarter of 2021 prepared by the Salmon Council, there was a progressive recovery in salmon exports as 2021 progressed. Thus, while in the first quarter shipments fell 2.6% annually, in the second and third quarters there were increases of 11.6% and 33.4% respectively when compared to the same quarters of 2020. Finally, salmon and trout exports totaled US$1,549 million in the fourth quarter of 2021, 37.5% more than the same quarter of the previous year.


As of December this year, 16,089 tons of salmonids were shipped to China for a value of US$102 million, 48% less in terms of volume and 23% less in returns, compared to what was reported for the same period last year, when 30,344 tons were exported for US$134 million.

The Salmon Council report states that regarding China, as a result of Covid and an alert from the health authority on the importation of various frozen foods in mid-2020, the demand for these products was drastically reduced. This situation has been maintained over time, showing a decrease of 62% with respect to the values ​​registered in 2019.

For its part, the United States received 239,576 tons of salmon and trout from Chile, valued at US$2,281 million. These shipments show increases compared to those made in the same period of 2020 – 7% and 33%, respectively – in which 222,534 tons were exported for US$1,706 million.

To Japan, Chile sent 159,497 tons for US$1,032 million, compared to 184,698 tons at a value of US$1,022 million, registered as of December 2020. The figures show variations, with an increase of 1% in returns and a decrease of 14 % in volumes.

While, to Russia, 50,688 tons were exported, reaching a value of US$291 million, being 18% less in volume and 3% lower in value, compared to what was registered in the same period 2020, when Chile made shipments of 61,562 tons of salmon and trout for US$300 million.

The most important Latin American market for Chile continues to be Brazil, which showed important increases in terms of volume and return of salmonid exports. This, given that the figures show that in the last month of 2021, 127,293 tons worth US$667 million were shipped, compared to the same period of time in 2020, when 121,921 tons of product were exported for US$408 million, reflecting increases 4% and 63%, respectively.

According to what was stated by the Salmon Council, the increase exhibited responds to a recovery in demand throughout this year, after the sharp drop registered during 2020. Additionally, in Brazil sales have been expanded to new regions where the consumption of salmon has gained prominence.


For the Salmon Council, there are good prospects for salmon exports to the world in 2022, subject to the control of the health crisis being maintained in such a way that it allows the opening of the sales channel in hotels and restaurants, and that the dynamism continues in the growth of new distribution channels, such as online sales and retail, which increased in 2020 and 2021.

“The results of 2021 confirm the consolidation of the recovery in Chilean salmon exports to the world after a very complex 2020 for everyone and where salmon farming, whose main sales channel is restaurants and hotels, was also affected. Thanks to the protocols implemented by the companies and the responsibility of the workers, we were able to continue operating during the pandemic and the recovery showed a solid demand for salmon from external markets, which allows us to close the year 2021 with significant growth and higher levels. to those registered before Covid”, explained Joanna Davidovich, executive president of the Salmon Council.


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