A salmon processing plant in Chile. The number of people employed by Salmon Council members fell by 3.1% last year but should increase this year.

Chile’s salmon heavyweights gave work to nearly 20,000 in Q4 last year

Five salmon farmers that represent just over half of the industry’s production in Chile directly or indirectly employed an average of 19,791 people in the last three months of 2021, according to a new report.

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The figure is included in the third Employment Report by the Salmon Council trade body, which comprises AquaChile, Australis Seafoods, Cermaq, Mowi Chile and Salmones Aysén.

According to the report, 62% (12,260) of those given work by the Salmon Council members were directly employed, with the other 38% employed by contractors providing services to the industry.

Direct employment by region

  • In Los Lagos region a monthly average of 8,761 workers were directly employed by Salmon Council companies in Q4, 2021.
  • In the Aysén region a monthly average of 2,100 workers were directly employed by Salmon Council companies in Q4.
  • In the Magallanes region a monthly average of 727 workers were directly employed by Salmon Council companies in Q4.

Lower harvests

The figure of 19,761 is 4% lower than in the same quarter in 2020, while the average employment level for the whole of 2021 was 3.1% lower than in 2020.

The report attributed some of the drop to the impacts of Covid-19 restrictions, which led to fewer stockings in 2020 and lower harvests last year.

Another reason for the reduction is a labour shortage that has affected various business sectors in Chile.

Increase predicted

Speaking to Fish Farming Expert’s Chilean sister site, Salmonexpert.cl, the Salmon Council’s studies director, Jorge Lira, said: “Regardless of whether it is direct employment or subcontracted, what is relevant is that all these jobs are generated, that they are of quality jobs and that the safety and health of employees is protected.

“We hope that in the future there will be an increase in employment, because the projections are for a growth in the harvests this year.”