Chilean Salmon Marketing Council Commits to Antibiotic Reduction Program
The Chilean Salmon Marketing Council (CSMC) has revealed its collaboration, along with SalmonChile, the national association for the salmon industry in Chile, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBA), in the Chilean Salmon Antibiotic Reduction Program (CSARP), an initiative to lower antibiotic use by 50 percent as a step toward attaining the status of a Seafood Watch Good Alternative by 2025. The unveiling of the program occurred on Monday, March 18, during the annual Seafood Expo North America (SENA) in Boston.
“A 50 percent reduction in antibiotic use, in concert with other improvements to the industry, could lead to a Good Alternative recommendation,” noted Jennifer Dianto Kemmerly, director of global fisheries and aquaculture at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, whose Seafood Watch program helps consumers and businesses choose sustainably fished and farmed seafood. “Improvement on that scale is excellent news for Patagonia, and for everyone around the world who enjoys Chilean salmon. We’re proud to support this work and are hopeful to see real change along the way to our 2025 goal.”
“We already have companies in Chile with positive Seafood Watch ratings,” observed James Griffin, executive director of the CSMC, whose members include AgroSuper (Aquachile, Los Fiordos, Verlasso, the last of which has actually held a Good Alternative buy rating from Seafood Watch since 2013); Cermaq Chile; MultiExport Foods; Australis; Salmones Camachaca; Bluemar; Ventisqueros; Salmones Austral; Marine Farm; and Salmones Magallanes. “It has been my dream to see Chile’s Seafood Watch rating, as a whole country, move in a positive direction. It’s a highlight of my career to be part of the effort to achieve this goal. In the coming years, this will be our focus, and U.S. consumers and the people of the Chilean Patagonia will benefit, but the ultimate beneficiary will be the ocean and ecology of such a pristine part of the world.”
“Never before has our industry made such a bold commitment,” said SalmonChile CEO Arturo Clement. “We are excited to work together as an industry and with the Monterey Bay Aquarium to fulfill this extremely important goal. We have made significant advances in salmon farming over the past four years and always work to minimize the use of antibiotics. Collaborating to further this work is a major step we can take toward continuous and quantifiable improvement.”
The unveiling of CSARP took place as part of a new campaign, The Promise of Patagonia, which aims to help Americans connect the Chilean region of Patagonia with the salmon they buy. In fact, the United States is the most important market for Chilean salmon, with most salmon purchased in the United States sourced from Chile, according to information presented by Ricardo Garcia, CEO of Camanchaca, vice chairman of Salmones Camanchaca and chairman of CSMC, during a campaign launch breakfast event at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel adjacent to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, the venue for SENA. Beginning this month, the campaign will roll out to print, online and out-of-home channels.
Garcia adding that the council had hired New York-based venerable public relations firm Ketchum “to tell the story,” noting its 60-plus years of working with food clients.
During the event, Kemmerly asserted that “the market can lead the way” in resolving environmental issues, while Griffin vowed that CSARP, which he referred to as a “pre-legislative” program, as it had been conceived and launched in advance of government action, was “not an empty promise.”
Speaking with Progressive Grocer following the launch, the unassuming Griffin, a onetime chef who referred to himself as “fish guy for 30 years,” said that the council had forged relationships with such industry groups as the Food Marketing Institute to emphasize its commitment to sustainable salmon, meeting with “home-run, Hall of Fame hitter” executives from major U.S. supermarkets to learn from them. He also pointed out that Monterey Bay’s Seafood Watch program was the most effective from the consumer’s point of view, as it provided an easy-to-understand three-tiered rating system.
He further noted that before the end of the year, CSMC and Monterery Bay would debut a “public-facing platform,” a website on which CSARP progress would be disclosed “in a meaningful way.”
At the suggestion that CSARP – not to mention The Promise of Patagonia – was a proactive measure to gain consumers’ trust, Griffin replied, “Smart organizations are proactive, thoughtful and authentic,” adding, “In this world, there’s no choice but to be transparent. You can’t hide lack of integrity.”
CSMC is governed by a Chile-based executive board and managed by a U.S.-based executive director.
Co-located with Seafood Processing North America, SENA is North America’s largest seafood trade event, drawing more than 22,000 seafood professionals from more than 110 countries and 1,300-plus exhibiting companies. The event is produced by Portland, Maine-based Diversified Communications.