The main idea of the article is the mussel harvests will decrease seriously in 2013. A specialist gives reason why the harvest in 2012 didn't decrease, due to the mussel seeds in 2011. He also talks about hypotheses on the reason of the shortage. As the mussel farming industry exported products is decreasing, it's suggested to seek new markets.
Mussel (Mytilus chilensis) harvests could fall between 60 per cent and 70 per cent in 2013 due to shortages of seeds, warns the general manager of the Association of Mussel Growers from Chile AG (AmiChile), Johana González.
Farmers use Mussel Farming Net to help get better harvest. But, this year, the association expects a 30 per cent decrease in harvests and in production although the sector will have to face another problem: the European economic crisis, Diario Financiero reported.
Meanwhile, the head of the Aquaculture Department of the Undersecretariat of Fisheries (Subpesca), José Miguel Burgos, said that while in 2011 the mussel farming industry exported products for USD 180 million, the low uptake of mussel seeds that is considered for 2012 will limit the growth potential of aquaculture.
According to Burgos, in 2012 the output will remain unchanged thanks to the existence of a large volume of molluscs that are still in the water, which are undergoing the fattening process.
The problem of seed shortage should be faced mainly by Cochamó sector, Reloncaví estuary and Chiloé.
There are several hypotheses that explain the low uptake of seeds. Burgos believes there is less freshwater flow than normal in the areas of the mouths of estuaries and rivers, and this phenomenon would affect the production process.
To address this issue, Subpesca is monitoring the situation in most nurseries and investigating new areas of uptake in the Region XI, in paralyzing poison-free zones.
This problem is added to the strong dependence of the Chilean mussel farming industry on Europe, a market that accounts for 80 per cent of the local shipments.
The crisis in the European Union (EU) is forcing producers to seek new market alternatives, such as Brazil and Japan, destinations towards which little has been exported so far.
As reported by the Fisheries Development Institute (IFOP) between January and April 2012, the firm Blue Shell, which is the country's largest exporter, reduced its exports by 9.3 per cent, and Chiloé Seafoods by 1.6 per cent.