A Mowi Canada West fish farm off the B.C. coast. (Mowi Canada West)

B.C. fish farm operator says most of escaped salmon likely eaten

Mowi Canada West’s fish farm off Robertson Island, north of Vancouver Island, caught fire Dec. 20

The owners of a Canadian facility where thousands of Atlantic salmon escaped following a fire said it is likely predators ate most of the fish.

Mowi Canada West downplayed threats to wild salmon stocks because of the number of sea lions feeding on the 21,000 non-native salmon held in pens there, CoastAlaska reported Thursday.

Mowi Canada West’s fish farm off Robertson Island, north of Vancouver Island, caught fire Dec. 20.

“Judging by the number of sea lions congregating near the involved farm it is likely many have already been eaten by predators,” the company said in a statement. “That said, we take our responsibility to prevent any impacts seriously, and will take every reasonable action to do so.”

ALSO READ: Escape of non-native salmon on B.C. coast puts farm phase-out plan in spotlight

Stan Proboszcz of Vancouver-based environmental group Watershed Watch Salmon Society said the escape and a recent mass die-off nearby highlight the risks of raising salmon in sea-based pens.

“Farmed fish can harbour parasites and viruses that can be spread to wild fish,” Proboszcz said. “So that’s one of the big risks that we see with an escape like this.”

Fish farming is outlawed in Alaska.

In 2017, hundreds of thousands of Atlantic salmon escaped from a fish farm in Puget Sound. The following year, Washington state passed a law ordering the state’s salmon farms to shut down by 2022.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo will be the community hardest-hit by ferry layoffs, union says

B.C. Ferry and Marine Workers’ Union looking at its legal options

Woman arrested in Nanaimo after attempted RV break-in with owner inside

Incident happened April 1 in the 700 block of Drake Street

Community strength urged in combatting COVID-19 in Nanaimo

Health-care workers at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital saluted

COVID-19: Nanoose Bay man forges hearts for his community

Kasprick has already given out approximately 400, plans to make it 600

‘Better days will return’: Queen Elizabeth delivers message amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Queen said crisis reminds her of her first address during World War II in 1940

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

‘Stay strong’ graffiti message offers encouragement in downtown Nanaimo

Boarded-up Modern Café regains some of its colour during COVID-19 pandemic

No more ferries will sail from Departure Bay during COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. Ferries announces major changes to sailing schedules starting Saturday, April 4

COVID-19: Hospitals remain safe for childbirth, say Vancouver Island care providers

North Island Hospital has been asked to share its perinatal COVID-19 response plan

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

B.C. VIEWS: Pandemic shows need for adequate care home staffing

Seniors in B.C. care homes face challenging times

Most Read