Heavy losses expected as Mowi cull smolt due to Discovery Islands phase out

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With a third of production up in the air, salmon farmer expects heavy loss.

Langley Advance Times reports that Mowi Canada West-owned hatcheries have to destroy 2.6 million fish due to Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s December decision to phase out existing salmon farming facilities in the Discovery Islands.

The article has been updated: SalmonBusiness originally wrote that Mowi had to destroy 8.3 million smolt.

The 18-month period given by authorities, however, was too short a notice to sort out operational logistics to Mowi Canada West.

Big Tree Creek, Dalrymple and Ocean Falls hatcheries supply Mowi’s Discovery Island fish farms. The site represented a third of Mowi’s production.

Mowi human resources, safety and communications manager Dean Dobrinksky told the publication that the “aquaculture industry works on a five-year cycle and fish are at different stages in the cycle”.

“We had salmon that was slated to go to the Discovery Island farms this spring, but as per the Dec. 17 federal decision operators are not allowed to add any new stocks in these sites,” he said.

The publication also reported that Mowi has estimated that it expects CAD 195 million in revenue loss because of the cull.

“It’s going to be an awful experience for the farmers at the hatcheries who were taking care of the fish, feeding them and making sure that they are healthy,” said Dobrinsky. “And now we’re going to be asking those same employees to kill them,” he added.