Cooke Aquaculture debris washes ashore in storm

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Opinions differ on the amount of damage caused to another of Cooke Aquaculture’s farms, this time on their home turf in Nova Scotia, after a winter storm washed parts of it, “mostly feed equipment”, ashore, the CBC has reported.

Debris from the Cooke Aquaculture farm was extensive, according to local lobster farmer, Ricky Hallet, who reportedly said he thinks farmed Atlantic salmon could only have died or escaped.

“Seventeen out of 20 of the pens have the tops off them and most of them have the sides smashed down,” Hallett was reported as saying.

SalmonBusiness sought late confirmation from Cooke, but a spokesperson from Kelly Cove Salmon Ltd., a business of Cooke’s, said company crews could not yet safely get to the site to assess damage. Nevertheless, Chuck Brown, a communications manager for Cooke Aquaculture, told the national broadcaster that, “Inspections from the shore indicate there has been no damage to the main cage structure and no suspected loss of fish.”

No figure is out yet for the amount of fish that might have been affected, escapes or otherwise. A photo obtained by the CBC shows feed tubes washed onto a stony shore by heavy waves.

The southwest Nova Scotia grow-out off Jordan Bay was questioned in the past by residents and regulators, after cold weather killed many fish in 2015.

In a late Thursday note to SalmonBusiness, Nova Scotia Environment enforcement staff said that they “visited the Cooke Aquaculture site in Jordan Bay on January 9 and an inspection was completed. No violations were found. There was some debris and the company will be required to clean that up. Our staff will follow up to ensure the cleanup has been completed.”