A sea lice outbreak shut down a salmon farm near Tofino. (Photo - Alexandra Morton)

Sea lice outbreak shuts down Tofino salmon farm

“The company made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize the fish.”

A sea lice infestation forced Cermaq Canada to shut down its Fortune Channel salmon farm near Tofino over the summer.

“Closing the site was the right thing to do as the fish were never going to recover well and would remain a target for sea lice,” Cermaq Canada spokesperson Amy Johnson told the Westerly News via email.

She suggested unusually warm and dry weather in Clayoquot Sound caused “poor environmental conditions for our fish, most notably water quality.”

READ MORE: Sea lice outbreak threatens Clayoquot salmon

“The fish entered in the spring of this year, sea lice free, and then experienced challenging water quality conditions which impacted their health and gill condition,” she wrote.

The provincial government gave the company permission to use pesticide Paramove50 to treat sea lice at its farms in March of this year, but that treatment proved insuffient to save the fish at Fortune Channel.

READ MORE: Last day for input into Tofino fish farm’s hydrogen peroxide application

READ MORE: Tofino salmon farmer receives permit to use hydrogen peroxide on sea lice

“The company made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize the fish using a nature based anaesthetic. This was not an easy decision, but it was the right thing to do for the wild fish as well as our farmed salmon,” Johnson wrote.

“As a business we are transparent, we value our relationship with the Ahousaht Nation, the neighbouring Nations and communities as well as the Clayoquot Sound Fisheries roundtable and thus we have openly shared this information, we are committed to operating responsibly in the Sound and safeguarding the wild salmon is a priority for everyone.”

READ MORE: Salmon populations “drastically declining” around Tofino and Ucluelet

She declined to disclose the exact number of fish that were euthanized at Fortune Channel, but said Cermaq “typically have several hundred thousand fish at each farm.”

She wrote that Cermaq has contracted for a $12 million barge to be constructed that the company believes will provide “innovative sea lice management.”

“There are no chemicals and it uses gentle seawater pressure to dislodge lice which are then filtered out of the water, captured on the barge and disposed of after docking,” she wrote.

READ MORE: Fish farm culled 15 sea lions near Tofino



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Victoria church displays memorial tapestry for those lost to opioid crisis

Christ Church Cathedral hosts talks on opioid crisis on June 26 and July 3

Island beekeeper wants more responsible pesticide use

Two pesticide events in two months has beekeeper asking Islanders to take care

Tackling ‘one fear after another:’ ‘Spirit Orca’ swimmers ready for next challenge

Vancouver Island swimmers with disabilities preparing for ocean relay in Great Bear Rainforest

Asian business owners face stereotyping

Advocate: contrary to the ill-informed rhetoric, foreign investors saving Island businesses

What’s bugging you? Exterminator talks Island pest control

Dealing with pests in the home this summer and beyond

VIDEO: Father and son unveil reconciliation pole in B.C. on Indigenous Peoples Day

MP Jody Wilson-Raybould, a member of the We Wai Kai Nation on Vancouver Island, was at the event

Wildfire burning in coastal forest

A fire beside the Sea to Sky Highway is burning up a steep slope

PHOTOS: Event marks one year since soccer team rescued from Thai cave

Nine players and coach took part in marathon and bike event to help improve conditions at cave

Rock climber dies after fall at Stawamus Chief in Squamish

The man had fallen about 30 metres while climbing in the Grand Wall area

Five B.C. students taken to hospital after playing with vaping device

School district said students were taken to hospital ‘out of an abundance of caution’

Being a pot dealer is not what it used to be

Sunday Big Read: the business of selling marijuana in B.C. is a slow bureaucratic slog

VIDEO: Two more pride flags have been stolen from Langley woman

Lisa Ebenal was “angry” and “fed up” after the latest theft. Then people started showing suppport

B.C. couple who has raised 58 children turns to community amid cancer diagnosis

Family who raised, fostered and adopted many kids hoping to gain some precious together time to fight cancer

Canucks acquire forward J.T. Miller from Lightning

J.T. Miller, 26, had 13 goals and 34 assists for the Lightning last season

Most Read