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Civil unrest in Chile affecting farmed salmon deliveries

Blumar reduces harvests amid growing unrest in the country that has left some parts of Chile under curfew.

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The Chilean salmon producers trade association says there has been some disruption to fresh salmon deliveries from the country's producers amid growing civil unrest in the country.

With parts of the country under curfew, some fresh salmon deliveries on Saturday and Sunday were affected, although the situation could normalize today, SalmonChile President Arturo Clement told IntraFish.

Blumar said it has suffered delays in the unloading of trucks at Santiago airport and air dispatches, although without a major impact on the supply to customers.

"We decided to reduce harvest volumes from Sunday and will continue to monitor the situation closely," Blumar Commercial Director Daniel Montoya told IntraFish. "Our main concern is the safety of our workers, so today we will end our workday earlier."

It is unclear whether the threat of strikes by port workers could present further problems for the industry.

Air freight carrier LATAM Cargo said is is working to minimize the impact on its operations. "Still some flights may be delayed during October 20th," a company statement said.

Both Cermaq and Camanchaca reported no impacts for their businesses so far.

An increase in metro fares initially sparked the unrest. Although the increase has now been suspended, unrest has spread reflecting anger over living costs and inequality.

Chile's truck owners trade association (CNDC) said it while understands the reasons for unrest that is behind the looting, incidents and of violence it could not condone such actions.

"We fervently call on the executive, legislative and judicial branches to act jointly in the search for solutions to the serious problems that affect the country and that have caused the outbreak of violence of which we are all victims."

Fears of shortages have sparked higher demand for consumer goods at supermarkets, while motorists have been filling up in greater numbers at service stations, according to local media in Puerto Montt.

Suppliers in the United States, a key export market for Chilean salmon are monitoring events closely.

"I think there will be some delays," said a company official at Salmex, a division of Multiexport Foods in Miami. "We are gathering information and relaying it to our customers."

The situation in Chile is complex and it is difficult to predict how long events could last, Ventisqueros CEO Jose Luis Vial said.

"Without national and international flights being fully restored, there could be a decrease in harvests, processing and a temporary decline in the level of Chilean salmon export to international markets."

Meantime, the Chilean operations of New York based salmon smoker Acme are working normally, CEO Franco Adam said.

Developing story. Please check back for updates.

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