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

Bella Coola under another winter storm warning

Freezing rain is expected by this afternoon

‘Scariest boat ride of my life’: Passengers trapped by ice on rocky Nimpkish ferry sailing

The ferry docked in Bella Coola on Jan.12 coated in a thick layer of ice

Heiltsuk Nation calls probe into arrest of Indigenous man at bank ‘woefully inadequate’

Maxwell Johnson and his 12-year-old granddaughter had been at a Bank of Montreal branch in Vancouver on Dec. 20

Indigenous athletes invited to apply for Team BC

The Games will be the largest multi-sport event ever held in Halifax

After cashing in on QB gambles, Chiefs and 49ers to clash in Super Bowl

KC beats Tennessee, San Francisco dispatches Green Bay to reach NFL title game

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

Victoria family focuses on ‘letting go, enjoying time together’ after dad gets dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in downtown Smithers

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Most Read