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The Demise of Chile's Salmon Industry

by the Fish Site Editor
17 October 2008, at 1:00am

CHILE - Labor leaders took to the streets of Puerto Montt (Region X) Wednesday to protest an ongoing wave of salmon industry layoffs.

According to Benjamin White, so far, more than 4,000 have lost their jobs due to a current industry slowdown that shows no signs of ending soon.

Led by representatives from the National Confederation of Salmon Industry Workers (CONATRASAL), approximately 100 protestors marched from the city’s central square to the regional governor’s office, where among other things they demanded government subsidies for laid off workers and their families, The Patagonia Times reports.

“Once again it’s the workers having to pay the price,” CONATRASAL declared. “The situation was predictable and was made worse by poor management. The industry has been incapable of coordinating and taking basic measures to guarantee environmental and health controls.”

After growing by an average annual rate of 20 percent earlier in the decade, Chile’s US$2.2 billion farmed salmon industry has come to a standstill of late, due in large part to ongoing problems with a disease called Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA). A highly contagious virus, ISA can be lethal to fish but does not affect humans.

the Fish Site Editor