Salmon has been a leading generator of export earnings for Chile in recent years, and industry leaders project continued growth. Pesquera Mar de Chiloe, one of the world's leading salmon producers, anticipates sales of US$80m this year, up 33% from the level in 2000. Management projects that its sales will triple over the next ten years.

The US is the strongest single export market for Chilean salmon. As a result, any downturn in economic activity there could put a serious dent in Chile's foreign sales.

By Steve Lewis, just-food.com correspondent