|BLOG NEWS THE PROJECT CONTACT ENGLISH ESPAÑOL NEDERLANDS|
SALMON AND ALGAE 2000 KM / DAY 018 / APRIL 3, 2011 - 10:18 / QUELLON, CHILE
Chiloe is a beautiful island and one of Chile`s prime tourist destinations with its typical houses built on stilts. But behind the beautiful facade there is a grim picture.
Until recently the island was one of the prime salmon producers in the world. But a crisis hit hard in 2008. After years of relentless growth without taking the environment and the `well being` of the salmon into account, a virus struck the island. Tons of salmon died, several companies went bankrupt and thousands of mostly migrant workers lost their jobs. Working conditions at the remaining processing plants are often grim. Some reports indicate that women sometimes have to wear diapers so that they won`t affect production by taking bathroom breaks. Fishermen are facing tough times as well. Many have migrated here, and therefore competition is fierce.
Quellon is in the south of the island. What used to be a booming town is now dying out. Crime is soaring and unemployment is extremely high. Even the bronze plates of the monument marking the official start of the Pan-American Highway are stolen. Many fishermen have now switched to harvest algae, mainly for Japanese cosmetic companies. But the tsunami in Japan has affected the export on a large scale. Again bad news for Chiloe and its fishermen.
DAY 363 FINAL DESTINATION