SANTIAGO, April 11 Shares in Chile's leading
salmon producers tumbled Thursday, after a new outbreak of
Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) was discovered at one of
Multiexport Foods' farming cages in the country's south,
sparking fears the deadly virus could spread.
World No. 2 salmon producer Chile fell far behind top
producer Norway after the deadly virus emerged in 2007 and
decimated local stocks. The industry had since bounced back
after implementing a series of reforms, taking lessons from
other producers like Norway, Canada, Scotland and the Faroe
Salmon producer Multiexport Foods said on Wednesday it had
detected the ISA virus at one of its cages containing nearly
25,000 Atlantic Salmon, equivalent to 0.12 percent of its total
"The possible risk of contagion exists and that latent risk
is what's hitting shares in the sector," said Alfredo Parra, an
analyst at brokerage EuroAmerica in Santiago. "The virus forces
you to harvest at a lower weight, therefore there's a
significant drop in revenue."
Various salmon producers said they did not have farming
sites close by the cage where the ISA virus was detected and
they had the resources and sanitary protocols in place to deal
with the possibility of an outbreak.
Multiexport Foods stressed it was dealing with the outbreak.
"We're certain we currently have the necessary regulatory
framework to allow us to rapidly and effectively face this new
case of the ISA virus," the company said in a filing with the
local securities regulator.
At 14:25 local time (17:25 GMT) shares in Multiexport Foods
fell 4.54 percent on the Santiago Stock Exchange. Among
other producers, Blumar lost 4.43 percent, Australis
Seafoods declined 4.15 percent and Invermar
slipped 2.35 percent.