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Smolt Quality Index

Five salmon farming companies, in Los Lagos region, participated in a mutual cooperation project oriented to assess quality parameters in smolt production. The initiative started in 2012 and finished after a year of work and cooperation of the salmon companies involved, and was coordinated by AVS Chile

“Assessment of parameters used in smolt quality index by Chilean salmon producing companies” was the title of the project in which Blumar, Camanchaca, Marine Harvest, Multiexport Foods and Ventisqueros participated.

The initiative, carried out during year 2013 was, mainly, coordinated by AVS Chile in its role of contributing to the exchange of experience and knowledge, focused on the assessment of the smolt quality indexes and smoltification parameters used in the industry. After a year of the project development, the actors involved met in the ‘Smolt Day’, in Puerto Montt, Chile, in which the results of the project were shown.

The goal of the meeting was to generate the exchange of experience and discussions about the results of the project among professionals of the five participating companies. AVS Chile presented the scientific basis for smolt quality; the companies SGS and Aquabench showed production results according to culture practices and analyzed the mortalities of the first months of the growing stage, in addition ULA and the company Acuícola ALAS described the process of smoltification and its relation with the enzyme Na/K ATPase and the techniques used for measuring this.

“The transfer of smolts  from fresh water to sea water is one of the key processes for success in the ongrowing stage . Understanding, determining and quantifying the different parameters involved in smolt quality is essential to guarantee a standardized and replicable product”, explained Jaime Muñoz, Fresh Water Production Manager from Marine Harvest Chile. He highlighted that the main value of this project lies on the fact that the exchange of knowledge contributes to the companies that coexist in a common area or neighborhood, “we can minimize the health and production risks entering sea water with smolts with a similar or known quality standard”.  

The Fresh Water Manager from Salmones Camanchaca, Hugo Cajas added that he values the opportunity of generating a meeting  where near 90 people from different companies, with different specialization and backrounds gathered to address a cross-cutting topic openly and with very good scientific basis. “The aim of this is to directly set the basis for smolt quality standardization. This constitutes a milestone that sidelines past incomunication and focuses solutions on sharing experience and using the information and scientific knowledge available worldwide, he added.

The Managers linked to Fresh Water Production of the companies that actively supported the initiative were Jaime Muñoz, from Marine Harvest Chile, which is the company that started the project; Hugo Cajas, from Salmones Camanchaca; Cristián Delgado, from Multiexport Foods; Raúl Soto, from Ventisqueros; and Pedro Figueroa from Blumar.

Among the participating actors, they all agree that “the support of researchers and companies like AVS Chile are essential to continue doing research on relevant aspects for efficient salmon production in our country”.


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