March 26, 2020 / 7:22 PM / 9 days ago

Chile's salmon industry hurt by anti-coronavirus measures -report

SANTIAGO, March 26 (Reuters) - Chile’s salmon industry, the world’s second largest, has seen its operations hampered by logistical problems and measures to curb the spread of coronavirus, the head of an industry trade body told a local newspaper on Thursday.

Local salmon production is concentrated in southern parts of the country, especially in icy waters around the Chiloé Archipelago.

On Wednesday, authorities placed the archipelago’s main island under lockdown, to prevent a case of the virus confirmed there from spreading to other areas.

Residents in the area had been protesting over a lack of health controls to monitor truck drivers hauling industry freight in and out of the area.

Arturo Clement, president of the SalmonChile association, told the Diario Financiero newspaper salmon farmers were doing all they could to prevent the disease’s spread.

“We are making enormous efforts to adopt extraordinary labor and health measures to prevent contagion,” he said, adding that those brought with them a knock-on effect for the salmon trade.

Production centers around the archipelago were already operating at low capacity before the introduction of the stricter measures, “with fewer operators per shift and processing a much smaller quantity of salmon,” he added.

SalmonChile did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Chile has reported 1,306 confirmed cases of corornavirus and four deaths so far, while a total of 33 people have recovered. (Reporting by Natalia Ramos Writing by Aislinn Laing; Editing by Tom Brown)

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