One of the Norwegian-owned giants of B.C.'s aquaculture industry has disclosed that approximately 40,000 Atlantic salmon escaped from one of its open-net fish farms on October 21.
Marine Harvest Canada issued a news release saying the official number of escapees from its Port Elizabeth site will not be known until an official recount next week. The fish weighed an average of 4.7 kilogams and were ready to be harvested.
The company announced that scuba divers discovered several holes in two pens at the site, which is in the Broughton Archipelago. This came after divers went down to remove fish that had died as a result of low oxygen levels in the water.
The Living Oceans Society subsequently issued a news release saying this recent escape reinforces the need for closed-containment systems on B.C.'s west coast. The society noted that another Norwegian-owned operator, Grieg Seafoods, lost more than 132,000 fish in an escape earlier this year, and that the Norwegian government recently reported a 380-percent increase in escapes from open-net fish farms over this time last year.