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Mar 28, 2018

Shrimp Carries On in Aftermath of BAL Firings

Belize Aquaculture Limited has recently announced the retrenchment of a hundred employees at its shrimp farm in the Stann Creek District.  The streamlining exercise to reduce its workforce comes amid financial constraints caused by a disease outbreak three years ago.  While the company has been prudent in giving notice to the ministries of agriculture and labor, the downsizing is a blow to the long-suffering aquaculture sector.  Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, Jose Alpuche, is optimistic that the industry will rebound from dire straits.  In the meantime, companies are investing heavily in countermeasures to overcome the rash of shrimp disease.

 

Jose Alpuche

Jose Alpuche, C.E.O., Ministry of Agriculture

“We had a conversation before the announcement was made.  They have been very responsible in notifying us and notifying the Labor Department of their actions and to provide the assurance that what they’re doing is simply for them trying to restructure, to weather the storm caused by the disease outbreak.  We have every assurance that the industry will recover and that BAL will recover and they will be able, hopefully in the near term, to rehire more than the hundred that they’ve actually had to release.  It is an unfortunate situation but it’s one dictated by economics. The industry has been impacted by a disease outbreak since 2015.  Without exception, all the producers have been doing quite a bit to try to find a solution in terms of working out new protocols, in many cases investing in new changes to counter the disease outbreak.  We have been working very, very closely with them trying to find solutions, both the ministry, as well as BAHA, very closely with the producers.  What has happened with the BAL step is that just like any other business when they are hurting financially, they have to streamline to be able to come back stronger and that is exactly what they are trying to do.”

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