Aquaculture Magazine

December 2016/ January 2017

Latin America Report: Recent News and Events

BioMar Acquires Research and Development Center in Chile

By: Staff / Aquaculture Magazine

Chile. – The Danish company specialized in aquafeeds agreed to acquire 30 % of the Lenca Research Center of Aquainovo, located 33 km from Puerto Montt, in Southern Chile. From now on, this research center will be called Aquaculture Technology Center Patagonia (ATC Patagonia). 

This research center, built in 2011 and later renovated in 2015, has been characterized by its high standards with regard to quality, monitoring, control and biosafety. It is considered one of the most modern and complete R&D centers in South America. 

Matias Del Campo, General Manager of Aquainnovo, commented: “Aquainnovo has a state-of-the-art infrastructure and proven record of applied trials. Our team of specialists is permanently supporting our customers by effectively developing solutions to the main technological challenges in the industry. This initiative will strengthen the technological development thanks to the synergy of knowledge that is being brought in from both companies.”

The installed capacity of the ATC Patagonia allows executing more than 16 tests simultaneously; its facilities include reception, quarantine and special areas to perform trials at different scales, nutrition and feeding, parasites, pathogens and other multi-use areas. The center operates under strict biosecurity standards, water treatment systems and standardized management practices to reduce environmental impacts and ensure fish welfare. 

ATC Patagonia will increase the exchange of knowledge and generate solutions to the current challenges that the aquaculture sector is facing worldwide. This acquisition will increase BioMar’s R&D efforts and its quest to provide functional feed to the aquaculture industry.  

Ecuador and the European Union Sign Trade Agreement 

Ecuador. – On November 11, 2016, at a ceremony held in Brussels, representatives of the European Union (UE), Ecuador, Colombia and Peru signed the protocol of Ecuador for the EU’s existing free trade agreement with Colombia and Peru, which has been functioning since 2013.  

Once applied, this agreement will boost trade between the two countries and increase price stability of market products. The signed agreement will allow the entrance of a set of Ecuadorian products such as shrimp, tuna, other seafood products, cut flowers, coffee, cocoa, fruits and nuts to the EU market free of tariffs. The agreement also includes commitments on the enforcement of labour and environmental standards. 

For the moment, the Ecuadorian shrimp exports to the EU market enjoy duty preferences (3.6 %), which expire at the end of this year. Signing this agreement will allow shrimp export to the UE free of tariffs, preventing Ecuadorian shrimp producers from paying a 12 % duty. In the case of tuna, the agreement allows this product to continue entering the EU market with 0 % duty, instead of 24 % duty that it would have to pay once the preferential tariffs expire. 

The signing of this agreement was of paramount importance for Ecuador, since, if the trade agreement was not approved and the 12 % duty was applied, it was estimated that economic losses for the Ecuadorian shrimp sector could reach US$7 million monthly, as the EU is the main destination of Ecuadorian exports.  

This agreement will not only boost Ecuadorian exports and, consequently, its economy, it will allow an exchange of technology to enhance yields, productivity and lower production costs in the farmed shrimp industry. 

AquaChile is Targeting Mexico to Increase Exports to the US 

Chile. – According to information published by The Economist in early November, AquaChile is exploring the possibility of producing tilapia in Mexico, in order to strengthen its exports to the US market.  

AquaChile is one of the main farmed salmon companies in the world and one of the main fresh tilapia suppliers in the US. The Chilean company has tilapia farms in Costa Rica and Panamá, whose production is destined to supply supermarket chains, distributors and restaurant chains in the US. According to the company’s Annual Report for 2015, tilapia production in Costa Rica and Panama reached 17,990 tons and had a contribution  of 8 % of the company’s total sales. 

Fresh tilapia imports into the US mainly come from Costa Rica, Ecuador and Honduras. While frozen tilapia are imported from China and other Asian countries like Taiwan and Indonesia. 

Since tilapia has positioned itself in the US market and its demand increases year after year, with a registered growth rate of 12 % between 2001-2013 (AquaChile Annual Report 2015), AquaChile seeks to produce tilapia in Mexico to supply the US market, and, perhaps in the future, to venture into the European market, which has shown a great potential. 

Strengthening of FAO School Feeding Programs in Latin America and the Caribbean 

Panama. – On November 15th 2016, the Sub-Regional Forum on the Inclusion of Fish in School Feeding was held in Panama City. The event was organized by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education of Panama, along with FAO’s Sub-regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean.   

During the forum, the progress in promoting the inclusion of fish in school meals in Central America was discussed. The event included the participation of FAO School Feeding Programs (PAE, for its acronym in Spanish) leaders in the region and representatives of Fisheries and Aquaculture agencies of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. The main objectives of the forum were to share successful experiences of the incorporation of fish in PAEs between countries, and to design strategies with interinstitutional approaches for incorporating fish, small fish and aquaculture producers to these programs.

The PAEs, implemented in thirteen countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, seek the development and strengthening of local and sustainable public school feeding policies. It has been proven that fish provides great nutritional and health benefits at all stages of life, and its inclusion in school diets can contribute to reducing childhood malnutrition. Besides this, the inclusion of fish in the PAEs will promote aquaculture development and consumption of local products, thus improving the economy of rural communities. 

“We have found that, in the same conditions of poverty, the levels of child malnutrition in indigenous communities near the coast are much lower than in those villages in the sierra, where they only eat chicken and pork as animal protein,” said Alejandro Flores, FAO’s Fisheries and Aquaculture Officer in Latin America. 

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