Mowi clarifies smolt number statement

A war of words has broken out between Mowi Canada West and the Canadian Fisheries department as the farming giant clarified the number of smolts that will have to be destroyed as a direct consequence of the government’s decision to end fish farming in the Discovery Islands, British Columbia.
Mowi Canada West has explained that the total at immediate risk of being destroyed is 2.6 million smolts, not the 8.3 million figure stated by company officials last week.
Dean Dobrinsky, Mowi Canada West’s human resources, safety and communications manager has told Canadian media: “There was a desire to clearly define the immediate impact as the 2.6 million smolts (those that are active in our sea sites and hatcheries) after it originally was picked up by the trades as culling 8.3 million smolt in our hatcheries.”
He said the calculations were estimates based on the five-year operations cycle from broodstock through to hatcheries and eventual harvest.
“In the immediate term, there are 2.6 million fish currently at sea or in our hatcheries at risk of being killed if we are unable to find a home for them. As we have a five year operational cycle, we have millions of fish in our system that will also have to be killed if we cannot find locations for them to grow to harvest,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, the office of federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan has said such a cull is unnecessary. She also denied claims that the Discovery Islands decision left Mowi with little time to adjust – which the company says is why so many smolts have to be culled.
The minister’s office said: “In regards to the decision to phase out the fish farms, the licences in the Discovery Islands have been renewed on a yearly basis for the past 10 years and always with the understanding that a decision would be made by the end of 2020.”
It added: “The government is not directing the company to take this action. While the minister has indicated her intention that transfers into the Discovery Islands to new finfish will no longer be possible, we have not denied a request to transfer these fish to Mowi’s many other aquaculture sites.”
The ministry said the pens were not the right fit for the area and the decision was made following extensive consultation.

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