Northern Harvest Sea Farms Managing Director: “2.6 million fish (approximately 5,000 tonnes of salmon) are expected to be removed as mortalities from sites”

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Managing Director Jamie Gaskill is heard for first time since mortality.

Head of Mowi-owned salmon farmer Northern Harvest has posted on Facebook on Friday in a long Facebook post that 2.6 million fish (approximately 5,000 tonnes of salmon) are expected to be removed as mortalities from sites affected by the temperature event.

Furthermore, the salmon mortalities comprise approximately half of all Northern Harvest fish in the water.

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

Gaskill – who took on the role of Managing Director Marine Harvest Canada East Coast (now Mowi Canada East) said he took full responsibility for the company’s actions:

“We have been advised today by the Provincial Government, that 10 of our company’s 13 site licenses have been suspended until further notice, and we will be advised of conditions that government will place in order to have that suspension lifted.

“We, of course, accept the decision, and we are committed to satisfying those conditions once we receive them.

“With respect to the clean up, as of this week, Northern Harvest Sea Farms has completed more than 87 percent of the clean up effort involving the removal of salmon mortalities caused by mass prolonged high water temperatures (i.e. 63 of 72 pens).

“Barring unforeseen circumstances, we expect to complete all clean up activity by the end of next week.

Gaskill said, based on the substantial completion of the clean up work that has taken place to date, the company is providing the following projections:

2.6 million fish (approximately 5,000 tonnes of salmon) are expected to be removed as mortalities from sites affected by the temperature event.

This figure is comprised of the mass mortality event that was reported September 3rd. This event comprised a mass mortality totalling 2 million fish over six sites. The cause of death for these fish was confirmed by regulators to be consistent with an environmental effect.

In addition, the salmon farmer has identified 600,000 more fish that we believe were weakened by the temperature event and died as a result. It said that was reported to the government on Friday 11th October.

Clean up operation. Screenshot: CBC

Gaskill said: “I want to state for the record that we should have advised earlier of these additional mortalities as they occurred over time. I take responsibility for this personally as the Managing Director of the company. We were too focused on clean up efforts, and we have learned from this experience. The salmon mortalities comprise approximately half of all Northern Harvest fish in the water. This is approximately 2.6 million fish out of 5.4 million fish in the water

“72 cages were impacted by the mass mortality event. As I noted, 63 of those have been fully cleaned up. We anticipate full clean up by next week. In total, we have 166 cages in the water.

In total 10 sites were affected by this temperature event. Six were impacted by the mass mortality reported on September 3rd. Four more have been impacted by mortalities among fish weakened by the event. This is 10 sites impacted out of a total of 13 sites that Northern Harvest has in the water. The average weight of the salmon mortalities is two kilograms (4.5 pounds). This means on average, they were not market sized fish”.