Civil un­rest in Chile hits salmon pro­duc­tion

Fish Farmer - - News -

THE Chilean salmon in­dus­try has been hit by weeks of civil un­rest in the coun­try, with farms re­port­edly op­er­at­ing at half ca­pac­ity.

In­dus­trial ac­tion has seen roads blocked and sup­plies held up as cus­toms work­ers joined in mass walk­outs.

Cur­fews have been im­posed, dis­rupt­ing night shifts at many busi­nesses, in­clud­ing salmon pro­cess­ing plants.

The trou­ble be­gan af­ter metro fares were in­creased in the cap­i­tal, San­ti­ago, spark­ing demon­stra­tions over mount­ing so­cial in­equal­ity.

One salmon fac­tory at Cal­buco, owned by AquaChile, was re­port­edly set alight at the height of the protests; the plant is close to Puerto Montt, the main salmon pro­duc­ing region of Chile

In a sep­a­rate in­ci­dent at the com­pany’s Quel­lon plant on Chiloe is­land, also in south­ern Chile, staff man­aged to dis­suade protesters from loot­ing the site, ac­cord­ing to In­trafish.

AquaChile shut down the Quel­lon site to pro­tect the safety of work­ers. Six Chilean salmon pro­cess­ing plants are paral­ysed in Quel­lon, Chiloe Is­land, Ar­turo Cle­ment, pres­i­dent of trade body Sal­monChile, told In­traFish.

Among other af­fected plants, some are run­ning in­ter­mit­tently, oth­ers are par­tially work­ing, and some have re­sumed full pro­duc­tion.

Chilean ex­ports have been af­fected by the cri­sis, with cus­tomers in the US and Brazil com­plain­ing of short­ages.

Acme Smoked Fish, one of the largest salmon smok­ers in the United States, said just 30 per cent of nor­mal fresh salmon vol­umes were ex­pected to be shipped from Chile to­wards the end of Oc­to­ber.

There are fears about the longer term im­pact of the protests on ex­ports, par­tic­u­larly to the United States, which gets around 50 per cent of salmon from Chile.

The rep­u­ta­tion of Chile is at stake, in a highly com­pet­i­tive in­ter­na­tional mar­ket for farmed salmon sup­plies.

Above: Ar­turo Cle­ment

Above: Fish farm Chiloe is­land

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