Chilean Trucker Strike Stymies Salmon Industry

The strike Chilean truck drivers initiated on Tuesday and extended indefinitely on Wednesday in protest of soaring fuel prices has stymied the country's farmed-salmon industry.

The strike has hampered distribution of fish feed to salmon farms and product to processing plants, ports and airports. Thousands of Chilean truckers parked their trucks along the country's highways and burned oil drums to protest not only rising fuel prices but also government fuel subsidies. On Monday, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet announced a $1 billion dollar cash subsidy to consumer fuel prices, but truckers say it's only a temporary solution.

Oil prices jumped to more than $127 a barrel yesterday, up from about $65 a barrel a year ago.

One of the world's largest farmed-salmon producers, Chile exported 498,360 metric tons of salmon and trout in 2007, up 7 percent from 2006.

This week has been marked by fuel-price protests worldwide. On Wednesday, protests turned violent when some 500 European fishermen converged on Brussels. Three police officers were injured and 74 people were arrested. Windows and glass doors were smashed at the European Commission's agriculture offices and at a bank, trash cans were set ablaze and a car was overturned. The protestors were fishermen from France, Britain, Spain, Portugal and Italy.


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