A Mowi Canada West fish farm off the B.C. coast. (Mowi Canada West)

B.C. fish farm operator says most of escaped salmon likely eaten

Mowi Canada West’s fish farm off Robertson Island, north of Vancouver Island, caught fire Dec. 20

The owners of a Canadian facility where thousands of Atlantic salmon escaped following a fire said it is likely predators ate most of the fish.

Mowi Canada West downplayed threats to wild salmon stocks because of the number of sea lions feeding on the 21,000 non-native salmon held in pens there, CoastAlaska reported Thursday.

Mowi Canada West’s fish farm off Robertson Island, north of Vancouver Island, caught fire Dec. 20.

“Judging by the number of sea lions congregating near the involved farm it is likely many have already been eaten by predators,” the company said in a statement. “That said, we take our responsibility to prevent any impacts seriously, and will take every reasonable action to do so.”

ALSO READ: Escape of non-native salmon on B.C. coast puts farm phase-out plan in spotlight

Stan Proboszcz of Vancouver-based environmental group Watershed Watch Salmon Society said the escape and a recent mass die-off nearby highlight the risks of raising salmon in sea-based pens.

“Farmed fish can harbour parasites and viruses that can be spread to wild fish,” Proboszcz said. “So that’s one of the big risks that we see with an escape like this.”

Fish farming is outlawed in Alaska.

In 2017, hundreds of thousands of Atlantic salmon escaped from a fish farm in Puget Sound. The following year, Washington state passed a law ordering the state’s salmon farms to shut down by 2022.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Drivesmart column: Mandatory alcohol screening

If you have to drive, don’t drink. If you drink, don’t drive.

Mary Lowther column: Time to plan the winter garden

Weeds have gotten away on me, I’ve just finished laying out my soaker hoses

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Sarah Simpson Column: Finding nature at home

It was time to call in reinforcements.

Shady Lady: legendary Catalina touches down on Cowichan Lake

Two flying boats test the waters west of Youbou

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Missing teen visiting Courtenay found safe

She had last been seen going for a walk on Aug. 6

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Most Read