Turmoil in Chile as salmon workers block roads ahead of ruling on indigenous rights to coastal lands

Editorial Staff

Protesting salmon industry workers block roads ahead of ruling that could see huge swathes of coastal Chile transfered into indigenous ownership.

The Regional Coastal Border Use Commission in Aysén, Chile, is set to decide on indigenous communities’ requests for more than 620,000 hectares of coastal areas under the Lafkenche Law on Thursday February 29, 2024.

This law recognizes the territorial rights of the Mapuche-Lafkenche communities to the coastline and sea.

To date, 24 such requests from indigenous communities across Chile have been granted, with average concessions of 8,420 hectares each. The latest two requests affecting the Aysen region represent a 37 fold increase on the average of all applications granted to date in Chile, according to the industry.

SalmonChile has expressed concerns that the approval of these requests could impact over 300 aquaculture sites in Aysén. These sites represent 45% of the region’s aquaculture facilities and approximately 25% of Chile’s national salmon farming capacity.

Relief for Chilean salmon industry after indigenous claim to 227,272 hectares is rejected

In response, salmon farming and fishing industry workers conducted a highway blockade in Aysén as a protest against the potential approval of these requests. They fear significant job and industry impacts.

Participating entities included the Multi-Union of Salmon Workers, National Coordinator of Salmon Workers, CorpAysén, Acuiprov, and fishermen from various local regions, along with community members, service providers, and hauliers.


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