NL fisheries minister suspends all Northern Harvest licenses and calls upon Mowi CEO Alf-Helge Aarskog to come to Newfoundland

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Northern Harvest must provide full disclosure of further salmon mortality events. Its licenses have also been suspended.

In a press release on Friday, NL fisheries minister Gerry Byrne has announced that he has suspended all of Mowi-owned Northern Harvest Seafarms’ licences.

The Mowi-owned Northern Harvest put in place a Mass Mortality plan after a yet-undisclosed amount of salmon died in Newfoundland, Canada.

Photo-composite: Screenshot CBC and NL fisheries minister Gerry Byrne (Wikipedia)

NL fisheries minister Gerry Byrne initially appeared to question the photos of pink liquid being out to sea after mass mortality.

Now, the Minister has posted that it must take action in reporting final numbers and that the “international president of MOWI to be available as soon as possible for an in-person meeting with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador”.

Byrne wrote:

“This morning I was informed by officials from Northern Harvest Seafood Farm (MOWI Canada East) that additional salmon cage sites have been affected by a mass salmon mortality event on the south coast. The additional mortality numbers make total numbers higher than initially reported by the company. As a result of the ongoing investigation and evidence of non-compliance, I am suspending all affected Northern Harvest Seafood Farms licenses and issuing a directive that requires the company to continue the cleanup of the sites. I will be amending license conditions to all unaffected Northern Harvest Seafood Farms and other associated MOWI license sites in the coming days”

“I have asked the international president of MOWI to be available as soon as possible for an in-person meeting with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. I have also directed Northern Harvest officials to make themselves readily available to media and provide full disclosure, as per our recently amended policies and procedures for aquaculture.

“This reconfirms the need for the independent, third-party review of the salmon mass mortality event being conducted by Memorial University and the need to reform the Memorandum of Understanding outlining federal and provincial responsibilities for aquaculture signed in 1988. Schedule B: Areas of Federal Legislative Concerns, Section 3. Fish Health Protection, includes: “Movement of fish; identification of reportable diseases; corrective requirements; reporting of significant losses of stock, complete record of mortalities.””

“Our government is committed to making the aquaculture industry safer and recently implemented new policies and procedures, including enacting strict policies to compel companies to disclose disease and all mortality events regardless of cause in a timely manner.

“I want to reassure the people whose livelihoods depend on the aquaculture sector that we continue to focus on solutions that strengthen policies and practices to ensure public transparency is ever-present”.

In a letter to Minister Byrne today, NDP Candidate for & resident of St. John’s Centre James Dinn called on the Minister to immediately launch an independent investigation into the massive salmon die-off at the MOWI/Northern Harvest sea pens on the South Coast.

Dinn said he would like to see the results of this investigation feed into a comprehensive review and overhaul of the legislation, regulations, and codes governing aquaculture.