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Mowi Canada ops lose over 28,000 lumpfish in separate die-offs

May 27, 2020

The Atlantic Canadian operations of Norwegian salmon farmer Mowi have lost an estimated 28,000 sea lice-eating lumpfish in two separate incidents, the company disclosed.

According to a press release written by the company and published on the website of the Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association, the first die-off was reported May 24 while some 38,000 lumpfish were being transferred onboard a wellboat from New Brunswick to the company’s Little Bay farm site in southern Newfoundland. That day, the company, which published the release under its former name, Marine Harvest Atlantic Canada, estimated that over a fifth of its cargo, 8,000 of the lumpfish, had died as a result of “issues with water oxygen levels in the hold of the vessel”.

However, the company disclosed two days later that after further review it was revising that mortality estimate upward to 15,800 lumpfish or 42% of the total shipment.

Also today, Tuesday, May 26, the company confirmed that “rough sea conditions” while a batch of 65,700 lumpfish were being transferred to its Steamer’s Head farm in southern Newfoundland, killed some 12,300 lumpfish, or 19% of the total.

“The abnormal mortalities were the result of rough sea conditions at the site immediately post transfer. Two other sites were supplied with lumpfish during the same supply trip without issue,” the company said.

It added that, in both cases, the company carried out the removal and disposal of its mortalities “per standard operating procedures”.