Chile made its first shipment of oysters to the US in late August when it sent 30,000 frozen units from the Region IV seaside city of Tongoy. The shipment was the result of six years of work in improving existing oyster processing plants in the area.

Pesquera Andacollo, together with the National Fishing Society (Sonpesca), made the exports after installing quality control monitoring equipment to assure that the strict health and safety controls required by the US market were completely adhered to.

If the oyster shipment results in good profits for the business, the number of oysters exported could increase considerably. The industry currently produces 2,000 tons of oysters each year and registers profits of about US$5m. An estimated 3,000 people currently work in the oyster production industry.

Chile is the world’s third most important producer of oysters, following China and Japan. Principal export markets for Chile’s oysters are France and Belgium, which receive 68% of all shipments.