Newfoundland PM on Northern Harvest: “There was lots of room for communications improvement through this whole process”

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First comments from the provincial Prime Minister on the Northern Harvest incident.

At the beginning of September, 2.6 million fish (approximately 5,000 tonnes of salmon) died from a temperature event at Mowi subsidiary Northern Harvest in Newfoundland, Canada.

The clean up was expected to be completed around this time.

The salmon farmer and NL Fisheries Minister Gerry Bryne had been criticised for not publicly disclosing the mass mortalities earlier. Byrne absolved himself, by telling local NL press that had didn’t have the authority to publicly disclose the mass mortalities at the time.

Subsequently, Gerry Byrne suspended all of Mowi-owned Northern Harvest Seafarms’ licences.

Talking to journalists, as reported on CBC, Premier Dwight Ball made his first comments on the incident since the story broke.

“When we get an understanding that we can go back and fish can be harvested, farmed in that area, but do it in an environmentally sustainable way and to be successful, it is then that the licences will be restored so that the company can get back to work employing Newfoundlanders and Labradorians,” the premier told reporters on Tuesday.

Northern Harvest maintains that there will be no environmental damage from the pink effluent SCREENSHOT: CBC

“There was lots of room for communications improvement through this whole process. We’ve made that quite clear that the company needed to do a better job in communicating with the people in that area and with government,” Ball said. “This should have never happened,” he added.

Ball also said that he is meeting with Byrne on Thursday for an update.

“What we need to do is work with the industry leaders to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” said Ball.