Cooke offers help to flood-hit areas, as road transportation in salmon-producing province of New Brunswick severely constrained
Cooke Aquaculture has offered three of its service vessels and their staff operators, now on standby, should the flood-hit Canadian city of Fredricton’s Emergency Measures Organization require additional support, it was learned on Wednesday.
“Grave” flooding has the province of New Brunswick living on edge, although salmon-farming operations have not been affected, a source told SalmonBusiness.
Rain and melt water have swollen the banks of the St. John River, the main waterway coursing through the provincial capital. Homes and businesses are flooded on both sides of the river, and officials have told residents to evacuate, as water levels have continued to climb since the weekend.
It’s the worst flooding in the province since 1973, Environment Canada has confirmed. Now, it’s affecting communities across the southern part of the province.
“Communities downstream are expected to be hit today and tomorrow with rising waters,” the salmon-farming source at the heart of it all said. He confirmed operations just off the southwestern shores of New Brunswick had not been affected, however supplies could be disrupted, as local ferry landings and roads extending between production zones and the capital are underwater in some spots.
The province generates about USD 115 million in produced-salmon value and about 40 percent of Canadian salmon production. Some 60 percent of locally produced salmon is exported to the U.S. Eastern Seaboard.
More than 100 provincial roads have been affected, as bridges and culverts are swamped, the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure said in a statement.
On Wednesday, residents south of the provincial capital were told by the EMO to leave their homes, as floodwaters now in the Saint John region were expected to near 5.8 meters above the high-water mark seen in 1973. Communities still at risk include Jemseg, Gagetown, Hampstead, Belleisle, Grand Bay-Westfield, Quispamsis and Saint John.