IntraFish has obtained video footage as the Chilean government convenes an urgent meeting of salmon industry trade associations amid protests over a proposed new law that has the potential to put more 70,000 jobs at risk in the south of the country.
In addition to the potential job losses, the new law jeopardizes potentially 500,000 metric tons, or 50 percent, of Chile's current salmon production, one senior Chilean salmon industry executive told IntraFish.
Chile, the world's second largest salmon farming nation, harvested more than 1 million tons of salmon in 2022, including Atlantic salmon, coho and trout.
Chile's Los Lagos and Aysen regions were expected to account for 100,000 metric tons each of the potential losses, with the Magallanes region facing potential losses of up to 300,000 metric tons, a massive blow to an area where employment is at a premium.
Mowi Chile Managing Director Fernando Villaroel said the salmon farming industry is as important to the south of the country as copper is to Chile, which is the world's No.1 copper producer.
Protestors took to the streets in the cities of Puerto Montt, Quellon and Puerto Natales underscoring the strength of feeling against a law that has been 11 years in the making but which is nearing final approval.
On May 29, a joint committee of lawmakers from Congress and the Senate will vote on the bill. If approved, the proposed law will be "99 percent ready," a senior Chilean salmon farming industry executive told IntraFish.
The executive said typically votes approved in joint sessions are almost always rubber stamped by Congress.
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