Combining algae and salmon: Chile’s aquaculture ripe for innovation, says Rabobank

The industry’s profit margins rose for the fifth quarter in a row during the first quarter of this year, giving the industry its second quarter of long-awaited profitability said the Dutch investment bank in a newly released report on the salmon industry.

Now, “the key question is what farmers will do with this cash flow in an environment with relatively limited organic growth options,”… Rabobank said, referring to Chile’s lack of biological capacity for expansion, as Undercurrent News noted in a previous story.

Although few salmon farmers have made efforts to invest in other species in Chile, some companies may do so in an effort to get some financial diversification on the books, as AquaChile has done by investing in tilapia and Cooke Aquaculture has done by going into seabass and seabream in Spain, Rabobank said.

ALGAE ASIA - Salmon Farmer

The bank also notes a “more synergistic” opportunity lies in algae and seaweeds, which is drawing increasing attention from investors and academia.

Algae and seaweed are key possibilities, as market opportunities extend to human consumption, feed proteins and oils, and the pharmaceutical industry.

Seaweed appears to be a particularly practical opportunity.

“In some cases, seaweed can be grown symbiotically adjacent to the salmon cages, absorbing the nutrients from the fish excretions while oxygenating the water necessary to the salmon,” wrote Rabobank.

The cost of salmon farming has increased significantly over the last few years, but in Chile, there has been a major turnaround in cutting down on those costs, with momentum likely to continue next year, the bank said.

In general, however, costs worldwide have been driven up feed costs, biological performance costs and non-feed costs, it added.


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