Province Suspends Northern Harvest Licences

Oct 11, 2019
The die-off on Marine Harvest sites has been increased to 2.6 Million fish. Photo Atlantic Salmon Federation/Bill Bryden
Northern Sea Harvest says some 2.6 million salmon have been killed as the result of what company officials are calling a “warm water event” this summer.

Jamie Gaskill, the Managing Director of Northern Harvest Sea Farms says 2 million fish were affected at 6 sites reported to government on September 3rd.

The company today informed government that another 600,000 fish were affected at four more sites.

The company is still assessing the potential impact on jobs.

Gaskill admits they should have advised of the mortalities earlier, and he takes personal responsibility.

He says no fish escaped from the pens involved.

87 per cent of the cleanup is completed, 63 of the 72 cages are now cleaned, while they expect the remainder of the cages to be cleaned by the end of next week.
Northern Harvest officials have called a news conference for this hour to address the fish die-off off the south coast that Minister Gerry Byrne says is bigger than originally reported.

Northern Harvest has had all its affected licenses suspended.

Earlier this week provincial fisheries minister Gerry Byrne indicated that no more than 2-million fish in 72 sea cages were killed in a warm water event over the summer.

Now, Byrne says, it’s been revealed that more salmon cage site may have been affected.

Byrne says as a result of the ongoing investigation and evidence of non-compliance, he is suspending all affected Northern Harvest Seafood Farms licences and is directing the company to continue the cleanup of the sites.

He is also amending license conditions to all Northern Harvest sites that are not affected as well as other MOWI license sites in the coming days.

Gerry Byrne - StatementMorning Oct. 11, 2019

This morning I was informed by officials from Northern Harvest Seafood Farm (MOWI Canada East) that additional salmon cage sites have been affected by a mass salmon mortality event on the south coast. The additional mortality numbers make total numbers higher than initially reported by the company. As a result of the ongoing investigation and evidence of non-compliance, I am suspending all affected Northern Harvest Seafood Farms licenses and issuing a directive that requires the company to continue the cleanup of the sites. I will be amending license conditions to all unaffected Northern Harvest Seafood Farms and other associated MOWI license sites in the coming days.

I have asked the international president of MOWI to be available as soon as possible for an in-person meeting with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. I have also directed Northern Harvest officials to make themselves readily available to media and provide full disclosure, as per our recently amended policies and procedures for aquaculture.

This reconfirms the need for the independent, third-party review of the salmon mass mortality event being conducted by Memorial University and the need to reform the Memorandum of Understanding outlining federal and provincial responsibilities for aquaculture signed in 1988. Schedule B: Areas of Federal Legislative Concerns, Section 3. Fish Health Protection, includes: "Movement of fish; identification of reportable diseases; corrective requirements; reporting of significant losses of stock, complete record of mortalities."

Our government is committed to making the aquaculture industry safer and recently implemented new policies and procedures, including enacting strict policies to compel companies to disclose disease and all mortality events regardless of cause in a timely manner.

I want to reassure the people whose livelihoods depend on the aquaculture sector that we continue to focus on solutions that strengthen policies and practices to ensure public transparency is ever-present

The minister is also seeking an in-person meeting with the international president of MOWI.

Northern Harvest is going before the microphones today at 3:30. VOCM News will be there.


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