DFO says Mowi decision to cull millions of smolt is “unfortunate”: “The government is not directing the company to take this action”

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Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has responded to Mowi’s claim that the company must destroy 2.6 smolt, saying that it has not denied a request to transfer fish to salmon farmers other sites.

Last week, SalmonBusiness reported that Mowi Canada West was going to cull 2.6 million smolt as a result of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s December decision to phase out existing salmon farming facilities in the Discovery Islands, British Columbia.

In a statement to CTV Vancouver Island, Mowi said that they were not properly consulted. Therefore they didn’t have time to adjust to their operational cycle, and the smolts in their hatcheries will have to be killed.

“The swiftness of the decisions by (Fisheries) Minister (Bernadette) Jordan was unreasonable and demonstrated a lack of knowledge of the industry,” said Mowi.

Minister of Fisheries Bernadette Jordan refuted Mowi’s stance, adding that licences in the Discovery Islands have been renewed on a yearly basis for the past 10 years and always with the understanding that a decision would be made by the end of 2020.

But according to Mowi, this gave the company no time to plan for alternative locations for the fish that are being raised in three island hatcheries and were destined for farms in the Discovery Islands.

“We additionally have millions of fish in our system that will have to be killed as we cannot find locations for them to grow to harvest,” Mowi added.

The DFO said that the decision to cull the fish was “unfortunate”.

“The government is not directing the company to take this action. While the minister has indicated her intention that transfers into the Discovery Islands to new finfish will no longer be possible, DFO has not denied a request to transfer these fish to Mowi’s many other aquaculture sites,” said the DFO.