FFAW-Unifor has received numerous reports of a significant number of dead farmed salmon on the south coast of the island. Fish harvesters have long raised concerns over the possible environmental impacts of major mortalities at aquaculture facilities in Newfoundland and Labrador.
FFAW-Unifor has been in contact with the management of Northern Harvest Sea Farms Ltd., the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources. Clean up of the dead fish is underway. We have raised the serious concerns fish harvesters have with the impacts of the mortality and have sought additional information on the steps taken to remove the mortalities from the area and to assess environmental impacts.
The south coast of the province is home to a vibrant and sustainable wild fishery. Fish harvesters in the area rely on fish harvested from the pristine waters off our coast for their livelihood. The practices of open-net pen farming come with the potential for very serious, far-reaching impacts on the fishing industry in the area. Loss of access to fishing grounds, navigational challenges and safety concerns with increased vessel traffic, use of treatment agents and mortalities are all major concerns for those working in the wild fishery.
Swift action on the part of both levels of government and Northern Harvest Sea Farms Ltd is needed in order to quickly, thoroughly and aggressively clean up the mortalities and to address the concerns of fish harvesters in the area.