Marine Harvest closes Tepual plant

Marine Harvest this week announced the closure of its Tepual, Chile, salmon processing plant, laying off 513 workers, reported Chilean newspaper El Mercurio.

According to Alvaro Jimenez, general manager of Marine Harvest Chile, the closure is temporary and the plant will reopen in mid-October 2010.

Chile's farmed salmon industry has been ailing since the infection salmon anemia virus broke out in mid-2007. The outbreak has led to 20,000 layoffs in Chile, said El Mercurio. Marine Harvest is the world's largest farmed salmon producer.

In April, the Norwegian company shut down its Chinquihue plant and laid off about 600 workers.

Marine Harvest's Chilean operations produced 9,283 metric tons of salmon in the second quarter of 2009, less than half of last year's second-quarter total. In July, the company reaffirmed its long-term commitment to Chile.

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