Carlos Odebret stressed the economic importance of the industry to the region. Photo: Magallanes Salmon Farmers' Association.

Chilean salmon farmers plan 1,000 new jobs in south

Salmon farmers in Chile plan to invest more than US $286 million and create more than 1,000 jobs in the Magallanes region despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

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The spending on farming and processing projects that are either in process or waiting environmental approval will add 1,011 new employees to the 5,000 workers already supported by the sector in the region, the Magallanes Salmon Farmers’ Association said.

Continuing the investment plan for the southern region while ensuring compatibility with measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 has been the challenge for the industry since March.

Tests for workers

“This virus has impacted the entire world and has mainly challenged health systems, but also logistics and work systems,” said Carlos Odebret, president of the Association.

“We have focused on safeguarding the health of employees and to this end we have implemented safety protocols which include applying laboratory tests to detect the virus before workers travel to the Magallanes Region.”

Odebret emphasised the importance of the salmon sector for the economic recovery of the area. 

Strong investment

“We are aware that we are one of the few sources of employment that still stands in Magallanes and we hope, despite the Covid-19 crisis, to maintain our strong investment plan that will contribute to generating even more work and give it a boost to the region in the next two years,” said the president.

He also claimed that “the environmental prosecution of investment projects can hinder the speed of recovery of employment in the Magallanes region”.

Salmon farmers have modified the way workers are transferred to farms from outside the region and, since April, have been carrying out laboratory examinations for all staff who travel to the Magallanes. 

“The plan aims to reduce the risk of a worker becoming infected during his work and to reduce the risk that someone in the industry could transmit the virus in his transfer to and from his workplaces,” said Odebret. 

“To achieve this, all the workers who move to Magallanes have tested negative for coronavirus before starting their journey.”