Coronavirus strikes add to salmon farmers’ woes in Chile

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Currently facing a pandemic, Chilean salmon workers and residents are taking to the streets against what they see are insufficient measures against the virus.

Diario Financiero reports that local communities in Chiloé, Chile, (the heart of the country’s salmon farming and processing industry) are putting up roadblocks halting operations.

They are saying that alleging authorities are not effectively closing the area, so as not to affect the economic interests of the salmon companies in the area. They argue that the main problem is the constant entry and exit of trucks from salmon farmers who they believe be spreading the coronavirus.

Unions, including the National Salmon Workers Confederation and more, sent a letter to President Piñera and also to the Minister of Health, Jaime Mañalich, to halt operations earlier in the week.

Health authorities confirmed the first case of coronavirus in Chiloé on Wednesday reported BioBioChile.

SalmonChile President Arturo Clément told Diario Financiero that he was aware of the concerns and said: “We are making enormous efforts to adopt extraordinary measures in labour and health matters to prevent contagion”

Though he added that industry has had difficulties in terms of logistics, and both its plants and its farms are operating at low capacity “with fewer operators per shift and processing a much smaller quantity of salmon”.