New agreement puts some Chiloe protests to rest as others rage on

An agreement reached with the government in Chiloe has lead protesters in six area towns to call off demonstrations, according to a report from Efe.

Two weeks after disagreement on compensation for damages caused by the red tide ravaging much of Chiloe’s coast moved area fishers to hoist picket signs, representatives from artisanal fisheries in Castro, Dalcahue, Puqueldón, Quinchao, Queilén and Curaco de Vélez presented an agreement for the protestors to sign, said Chile Minister of Economy Luis Felipe Cespedes, who is coordinating the government’s response to the crisis. Talks are continuing with a renewed sense of hope, according to Cespedes.

“This is the attitude of people looking for solutions, and it will allow us to work on a new stage in which we have to find answers and at the same time look towards the future,” he said to Efe.

Fishermen associations in other localities remain on strike. However, negotiations will continue amidst the protests in an effort to put an official end to the conflict, Cespedes said.

The demonstrations began on 5 May after fishers were banned from fishing in response to a resurgence of a toxic red tide; lost sales as a result of the protests have amounted to nearly USD 9 million (EUR 7.9 million) per day, the Chilean American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) reported.

Artisanal fisherman in the region are upset over what the deem as insufficient government reimbursements to compensate them for losses stemming from the fishing ban due to the red tide. The government initially offered compensation of CLP 100,000 (USD 150, EUR 132) to the approximate 6,500 fishermen in the area but upped its offer to 300,000 pesos (USD 441, EUR 387) last week.

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