Chile fishermen protests cause USD 40 million in losses

Published on
May 10, 2016

Lost sales because of fisherman strikes in Chile could exceed USD 40 million (EUR 35 million) from just the first five days, said SalmonChile General Manager Felipe Manterola in Chile’s El Mercurio.

The protests by artisanal fishermen of Chiloe began May 5 after they were banned from fishing due to a resurgence of a toxic red tide. The protests, which have blocked have caused lost sales of around USD 9 million (EUR 7.9 million) per day, according to the Chilean American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham).

The protests by artisanal fisherman in the island of Chiloe are over government reimbursements. The government has offered compensation of CLP 100,000 (USD 150, EUR 132) to each of the estimated 6,500 fishermen who have been unable to fish due to the red tide, but workers have called that amount insufficient, according to The Guardian.

The worker strikes are just the latest in a series of problems stemming from algal blooms in Chile, A previous red tide in February and March wiped out more than 100,000 tons of farmed salmon. The resulting export issues are having an impact on Chile’s reputation in the global seafood industry long-term, Chile executives worry.

“When you don’t supply the markets continuously, there are repercussions. In this case, it is affecting us because we are not exporting much of the fresh product that was intended for the U.S.,” SalmonChile President Felipe Sandoval told Chile’s Economia y Negocios.

Disrupting the flow of shipments generates “a loss of confidence in domestic products,” Kathleen Barclay, president of AmCham, told El Mercurio.

Last week, nearly 18,000 pieces of salmon were stopped on trucks that were destined for Blumar and Camanchaca companies in the region of Biobio. The two major processors have had five days without work because of this lack of raw material, which affects about 3,000 workers, said Paola Sanhueza, president of the National Union of Processing Plants, according to El Mercurio.

Contributing Editor



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