Mowi is being forced to destroy 8.3 million salmon smolts worth almost CAN $200m on the North Campbell River area of British Columbia , the company says.
The drastic action follows the government’s decision in December to phase out salmon farming on the Discovery Islands, British Columbia (BC) following protests from indigenous and sports fishing groups.
Amanda Luxten, assistant manager of Mowi’s Big Tree Creek salmon hatchery north of Campbell River, told the broadcaster CBC.ca last night that the issue was more than about jobs being lost. She said: “Instead of it being 8.3 million meals provided to people to eat, we’re going to have to cull these fish.”
She explained that the industry worked on a five-year schedule and with farms set to close in 18 months which meant a ban on restocking, resulting in millions of fish currently growing in the hatchery having to go to waste.
Ms Luxten said the company is about to lose more than a quarter of its islands operation, leading to fear, confusion and anger among staff.
Dean Dobrinksky, Mowi human resources, safety and communications manager, told BC news outlet surreynowleader.com that fry and smolts currently being at the hatcheries would have supplied the company’s fish farms in BC but because there were no other production sites where they could go, they would have to be culled.
He said the aquaculture industry works on a five year cycle where the fish are in different stages of cultivation. The first fish were due to go to the Discovery Island farms this spring, but companies are not being allowed to add any new stock.
Mowi and Cermaq are planning to take the Canadian government to court over the decision to force the farms to close.

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