CBC News - Newfoundland

Site of massive salmon die-off cleaned up, Northern Harvest Sea Farms says

Oct 28, 2019
Northern Harvest Sea Farms says all dead salmon have been cleaned up from Fortune Bay, nearly two months after the die-off was reported to government.

The aquaculture company posted on its Facebook page Monday that the cleanup was finished as of Friday. It is not clear if the cleanup included the fish residue and congealed fat that coated parts of the shoreline.

"Northern Harvest is committed to being as thorough and comprehensive in its response effort as possible, and we continue to keep our staff focused on any remaining site clean up activity," the company wrote.

The company went on to thank staff, seiner and dive teams, as well as supply and service groups which helped in the effort.

Northern Harvest Sea Farms — a subsidiary of Norwegian aquaculture giant Mowi — said the die-off, which it reported to the provincial government Sept. 3, was caused by warmer than normal water temperatures, which lowered oxygen levels in the pens on Newfoundland's south coast.

But it would be another three weeks before the deaths were made public, announced by the Fish Food & Allied Workers union, which said the die-off raises questions about the viability of the aquaculture industry.

Newfoundland and Labrador's chief aquaculture veterinarian, Daryl Whelan, confirmed the massive die-off was the result of low oxygen, despite the FFAW suggesting sea lice may have been to blame.

The warm water was confined to the areas Northern Harvest is operating in, and no other aquaculture companies have reported any mortalities related to warmer-than-usual water.

Last week, Premier Dwight Ball said the company won't get its licence back until the province is satisfied salmon farming can be done sustainably. It is not immediately known if their licence has been reinstated.

A company spokesperson did not immediately respond to questions from CBC News.


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