Information commissioner investigates whether mass mortality in Canada should have been reported earlier

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The mass mortality event saw 2.6 million fish die in southern Newfoundland sea cages. And since then, Gerry Byrne, the area’s fisheries minister, has faced criticism for remaining largely silent.

But now the area’s information commissioner wants to know what he knew about the mass die-off, when such information was available to them, whether the mass die-off prompted harm to the environment and wider general public, and whether or not it was in the public interest to disclose such information.

The story first came to light after the company said they had a high mortality event, but they didn’t say how much.

A CBC news report followed which showed pink liquid flowing from a boat into the sea off Fortune Bay in Canada.

Since then, it has emerged that 2.6 million fish had died in cages off Labrador and Newfoundland.

Fisheries Minister Gerry Byrne has maintained that it falls on the companies themselves to disclose what’s happened. In this case, that would have been Northern Harvest.

He has called for them to provide a full disclosure over the mortalities and even suspended some of Northern Harvest’s licenses to operate.

Northern Harvest’s parent company Mowi suffered a €5 million hit on its profits over the incident.

It has since said that the mortalities were caused by high water temperatures and low oxygen levels.