Cermaq, the Norway-based salmon and trout producer, has closed two facilities in Chile as the business restructures to eliminate over-capacity and meet new regulations.

The decision was taken to permanently close the processing plants in the cities of Ancud and Dalcahue – both located on Chiloe Island – on 7 April, a spokesperson confirmed, adding they are situated in the so-called 10th region.

According to the spokesperson, salmon farming in Chile takes place in 16 regions, with Cermaq present in three in the south of the country – ten, 11 and 12.

However, the company is downsizing the number of plants in region ten from four to two as its capacity utilisation has been “less than 70% in recent years”, the spokesperson told just-food. The four facilities were farming around 120,000 tons of fish per year.

And the government has also put limits on fish farming quotas under new regulations, making it more challenging for existing businesses to maintain operations.

Some 180 Cermaq workers from the two plants concerned have lost their jobs, the spokesperson said.

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“These types of decisions are difficult for everyone impacted, but we are convinced that they are necessary to build a structure that allows the company to operate in a more efficient and sustainable way in the coming years,” Cermaq said. 

Oslo-based Cermaq is a subsidiary of Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp.