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Chilean salmon farmers will use a new production model to harvest Atlantic salmon later on this year. (Photo: FIS)

Another wave of layoffs shake up salmon industry

Click on the flag for more information about Chile CHILE
Thursday, February 18, 2010, 01:30 (GMT + 9)

A very critical period for Chilean salmon farming is expected from March to June 2010 as a result of the firing of nearly 5,000 direct workers, warns the Chilean Salmon Industry Association AG (SalmonChile).

The unemployed would join more than 10,000 workers laidoff in 2009, following the crisis caused by the infectious salmon anemia (ISA) virus in various domestic farming centres.

In this way, it is estimated that the salmon farming industry will close the year with a workforce of around 15,000 direct workers.

Some 2,000 people could possibly be added to those employees, but in temporary jobs, the General Manager Carlos Odebret of SalmonChile explained to El Mercurio.

“A very difficult period is on its way,” admitted the trade union leader.

In addition, he anticipated that the 8,000 indirect workers could also see their jobs affected.

If these numbers take shape, the national salmon farming industry will be very far from the good times it experienced some years back, when it employed more than 50,000 people in direct and indirect positions.

The new layoffs will happen because there will be no raw material to process in the next months -- the salmon coho harvest will run out.

In any case, a good prospects for the second half of 2010 remains.

“In October, we hope to resume the activity with a new harvest of salmon coho and we will begin to harvest the first sowings of Atlantic salmon with the new production model,” Odebret pointed out.

As such, the president of the board of Empresas AquaChile, Victor Hugo Puchi, reiterates that the future General General Fisheries and Aquaculture Law (LGPA) is vital for the industry.

The government trusts that the Law will be promulgated in March, before the change of administration, following the recent elections that consecrated Sebastian Pinera as Chile’s new president.

“It is our objective”, said the minister of Economy, Hugo Lavados, after meeting with Juan Andres Fontaine, his successor.

Meanwhile, Fontaine indicated: “We are going to push for the bill’s passage, although I am not going to enter into details.”

SalmonChile also anticipates a drop of 38.7 per cent in the gross output of salmon for the year, which would fall from 400,000 tonnes in 2009 to just 245,000 tonnes in 2010.

According to Odebret, in 2010 exports would reach 158,000 net tonnes, whereas in 2011 they would recover around 20 per cent.

In other news, National Fisheries Service (SERNAPESCA) published the resolution this Tuesday establishing measures of joint sanitary managment in the Region of Magallanes in the Official Newspaper.

According to this resolution, in the zone between the Southern edge of the Region of Aysen through the north, to the extreme South of the Region of Magallanes, any salmonid farming centres located in a radius of 15 kilometers around a farming centre classified as suspicious or in outbreak must comply with a series of measures.

Species susceptible to ISA virus will not be able to enter these farming centres until they have fulfilled the rest stipulated by the authority.

Also, these centres will have to fulfill a period of coordinated rest of three months as from the end of the harvest or the elimination of the fish of the last populated centre located within this area. They must also have withdrawn all nets and executed the procedures of cleaning and disinfection in the terms required by the relevant general and specific sanitary programmes.

Related articles:

- Sharp decline in salmon forecast

 By Analia Murias
[email protected]




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