Prospects for the commercial cultivation of macroalgae in northern Chile: the case of Chondracanthus chamissoi and Lessonia trabeculata
The depletion of marine resources, also a global issue, is affecting marine algae in Chile. Currently, the Chilean production of macroalgae is based mainly on the exploitation of natural populations. This study analyzed the potential for a private investor to undertake the culture of macroalgae as a means of addressing this depletion. The analysis indicated two species of macroalgae showed the greatest potential for farming in northern Chile, viz., Chondracanthus chamissoi and Lessonia trabeculata. The business model considers the acquisition of ropes (branch lines) with attached seedlings, the cultivation of the macroalgae in the ocean, and the subsequent sale of the wet biomass harvested at market prices. The culture technology evaluated was the long-line system under a program of multiple overlapping cohorts. For the baseline model, C. chamissoi had a negative net present value (NPV), and for a private investor, the cultivation of this species would not be profitable. Conversely, the NPV for L. trabeculata was positive, and increasingly so after 5.5 years of cultivation, as the income begins to cover the expenses. Sensitivity analysis showed that very significant productivity improvements would be needed for C. chamissoi cultivation to become a new source of income in northern Chile.
Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10811-017-1298-9
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