Marine Harvest reports huge escape of Atlantic salmon from Broughton Archipelago fish farm

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.




Oct 25, 2009 at 12:44pm

Another nail in the coffin for our already at risk indigenous pacific salmon.

Mike Hansen

Oct 25, 2009 at 1:54pm

Just like the Monsanto 'genetically modified' canola fiasco. If any of these "released" salmon get caught, with Marine Harvest owning the 'genetics', can and probably will sue the fisher for possession of their "genetically modified salmon". In reality this makes all fish with that 'genetics DNA', property of Marine Harvest. Over the years our indigenous salmon will be cross-bred with these Atlantic salmon and all the salmon on the West Coast will be the DNA genetic property and controlled by Marine Harvest!
This is how Monsanto did it to agriculture, it's all about control of our food supply to control people.


Oct 25, 2009 at 4:00pm

Maybe this will make the DFO come to their senses. Open net salmon farms are bad for the ecology. To be safe, farmed salmon should be contained and removed from migration paths of wild salmon stocks.
The public should know that this is a billion dollar industry owned by Norwegian aquaculture giant, Marine Harvest. Wild salmon are the heritage of our First Nations people and fellow Canadians.

alexandra Morton

Oct 26, 2009 at 10:06am

Commercial fishermen caught 100s of these escaped Atlantics this weekend and I have examined many of them. Some have wild juvenile salmon in them. This means two things. First, the farm salmon are almost certainly eating the wild fish that are lured into fish farms by the growlights and food - this is an illegal fishery and I am pressing charges under the Fisheries Act. Second, finding food is the biggest hurdle and once crossed means Atlantic salmon can establish in BC. Exotic invasions are the biggest loss of biodiversity.

for pictures of these farm fish:


Oct 26, 2009 at 10:53am

luckily these fish only know how to eat pellets of a certain size and will eat nothing else. they will buck the tide untill they grow weak and perish.there was incompatence by someone at the farm site and it was probably made worse by someone at a desk calling the shots.

Riley Swendseid

Oct 26, 2009 at 11:33am

Listen to Alex Morton, she one of our most outspoken and well researched proponents of wild pacific salmon. Sure these farmed atlantic salmon are pelletheads, but that certainly doesn't garauntee that none will survive, as Alex has stated, juvenile salmon have been found in their stomaches, probably along with many other food items which are not pellets. Finding food isn't a long shot...We need to curb any opportunity for these atlantic salmon to escape. Demand closed pen fish farms!

Just wondering

Oct 27, 2009 at 7:01pm

Wonder if the net was compromised by the divers or did sea-lions harass the fish causing them to die (which they'll do when stressed), and while harassing them, tore the net?
Anyone know how much energy (carbon) it takes to run a 'closed-containment' system?
Use your heads people.

brian Karp

Nov 3, 2009 at 4:11am

The Government I.E Gordon Campbell and the fish farm companies lied to us.They said their would be no escapes. There are by the thousands and they said if there were that these fish would die of.They don't! .They also said that they would not spawn.THEY are! They have been found in streams by DFO


Dec 20, 2009 at 10:49pm

Pacific salmon can not breed with atlantic salmon. please do some research before you write. you are all a bunch of fools, alex morton being the leader of this ship of fools of course,


Mar 27, 2010 at 12:29pm

They shouldn't have been allowed to farm foriegn fish in these waters in first place goverment playing god again.