Quota cuts force Chilean firms to combine hake operations
By Pilar Caride, SeafoodSourcecontributing editor, reporting from Vigo, Spain
Published on 03 February, 2014
Chilean companies Blumar and Pesquera Bio Bio have decided to launch a joint operation for hake, due to the drastic reduction of quotas for this species in Chile this year.
The country's government established a quota for hake this year of 19,000 metric tons (MT), which represents a large decline from the 40,000 MT available for 2013.
As reported in the Chilean media, the two companies will decrease their fleets for this species by 50 percent, and they will use a boat each.
Gerardo Balbotín, Blumar’s GM, said that a total of 200 people lost their jobs because of the move, as published the Chilean newspaper “La Tercera.” However, according to Blumar’s union, the dismissal affects 400 workers, 170 of them with indefinite contracts, as reported in the magazine “Aqua.” Nevertheless, both companies regret the consequences of the decision, and they said they will comply with all legal and pension obligations to workers who are dismissed.
Regarding the quota decrease, Blumar’s union expressed their disagreement with the management of the scientific committee implemented by the government, a decision that they consider gives more weight to the scientific part instead of the social impact. According to “Aqua,” the union has asked for an emergency plan to workers who have lost their jobs.
According to the Chilean media, both companies argued that it was the only solution to avoid permanent closure of its activities with this resource, and they believe in the long term sustainability of the resource by reducing it. However, they expect that with the implementation of the hake management committee as part of the new fisheries act, the quota reduction can be mitigated.