Low prices during 2015, algal bloom and the fishermen’s strike has added 12,000 to the ranks of the unemployed in Chile’s Los Lagos region
Los Lagos, which also has a strong farming and tourism economy, only had 3% unemployment before the salmon industry started to falter this year, one of the lowest rates in Chile, newspaper El Mercurio reported.
The salmon industry has directly reduced its workforce by about 4,000, the newspaper said. A larger amount of jobs have been reduced in associated industries such as suppliers and other tertiary services that live off the salmon sector, according to producers’ association SalmonChile.
The association recently announced it would set up an office in regional capital Puerto Montt to help salmon workers find new jobs. Unemployed salmon workers have been demonstrating on the streets of the city in recent weeks in an order to get a benefit payment from the regional government.
Some of the unemployed will get temporary work in August when the salmon industry begins its high season of harvesting coho or Pacific salmon for the Japanese market. Total employment in the region has fallen 3% to 409,752 from a previous total of 422,000 in the second quarter, compared with a year earlier, according to the country’s National Statistics Institute. (Undercurrent News)