Chiloé Red Tide Protests

In May 2016 I encountered protests on the Chilean island of Chiloé led by local fishermen who faced losing their livelihood. In recent years the coast around the country’s lake district has been hit by a natural phenomenon called ‘Marea Roja’ or ‘Red Tide’- which is when the sea becomes full of an algae that gets into the food chain by poisoning the shellfish that eat it, and in turn can be fatal for humans who then eat the infected fish. 2016 saw the worst case in the sea around Chiloé since records began and was declared a ‘catastrophe zone’ which meant that the government banned all fishing until the waters became less polluted.
With just a minuscule compensation offered to the fishermen, community approved protesting ensued- burning road blockades, cut off access points to the island, and vandalism to any vehicle trying to flee. The stand off lasted for 2 weeks and I happened to be in the main town of Ancud during the first few days with my camera before managing to escape to the mainland.

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