May 22, 2023


Chile salmon workers unite against bill threatening jobs and industry growth



Chile's multiunion of salmon workers, joined by other unions, has announced plans to protest a proposed bill that could result in the elimination of over 60% of salmon farming, leading to unemployment for thousands of workers, Nation World reported.


In a statement, the unions expressed their disagreement with the government's proposal to amend Article 158 of the General Law on Fisheries and Aquaculture, highlighting its discriminatory nature towards their livelihoods, families, and the future of their children. They argue that limiting and shutting down salmon farming would leave them with limited options for future employment opportunities.


The closure of a salmon company in the southern region was cited as an example, with approximately 1,100 workers facing unemployment. This number does not account for indirect workers, supplier companies, and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which could further increase the impact of such closures.


The multiunion emphasised the potential consequences of eliminating 60% of the industry, stressing that the problem would multiply with numerous companies affected.


Alejandro Santibenez, the president of the trade union unit, announced that they would mobilise alongside other trade union organizations and workers to protest the lack of criteria and realism in the proposed legislation, which aims to establish the Biodiversity and Protected Areas Service (SBAP). They believe that governing from a centralised perspective disregards the interests and well-being of the workers.


Salmonchile, representing the salmon industry, expressed concerns about the legislation's impact on the development of salmon farming. The proposed amendment to Article 158 of the General Law on Fisheries and Aquaculture would pose a threat to salmon farming in national and forest reserves in the future.


Salmonchile highlighted that current aquaculture activities exist in reserves due to concessions made in areas that later became protected reserves or where the original protected area only covered the mainland. They cautioned that while Norway has plans to increase its salmon production fivefold by 2050, Chile is solely focusing on discussing sanctions.


The Salmon Association emphasized that such changes would have a significant impact on existing market shares. Currently, Chile holds 35% of the global market, while Norway holds 45%. However, by 2050, Norway aims to reach 82%, leaving Chile with only 11%. Notably, only 10% of Norway's sea is under official protection, while Chile has designated 40%.


-      Nation World

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