Canada: Pink liquid flows in Fortune Bay as cleanup of massive salmon die-off continues - - PressFrom - Canada
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Canada Pink liquid flows in Fortune Bay as cleanup of massive salmon die-off continues

23:15  02 october  2019
23:15  02 october  2019 Source:   cbc.ca

Harbour Breton fish plant workers concerned for the future after Northern Harvest fish die-off

  Harbour Breton fish plant workers concerned for the future after Northern Harvest fish die-off Longtime workers at the Barry Group fish plant in Harbour Breton are wondering how they will make ends meet after the death of a large number of fish at a farm in Fortune Bay.The Harbour Breton plant processes salmon from Northern Harvest Sea Farms, owned by Norwegian company Mowi. But the death of potentially millions of fish has plant workers without work.

Pink liquid pours out the side of the Eastern Pride, which has been hired for the cleanup at the Northern Harvest Sea Farms aquaculture pens in Fortune Bay.© Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Pink liquid pours out the side of the Eastern Pride, which has been hired for the cleanup at the Northern Harvest Sea Farms aquaculture pens in Fortune Bay. A cleanup operation is underway in Fortune Bay, where Northern Harvest Sea Farms is emptying out its salmon pens following a massive fish die-off.

The company, owned by aquaculture giant Mowi, has been cleaning out its salmon farming equipment since September. CBC News chartered an independent vessel to got a close-up look at the operation on Wednesday.

The company is using divers and has hired large purse seiner vessels from Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick to clean out their pens.

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On Wednesday morning, gallons of pink liquid flowed from the side of two large vessels at one cleanup site in Fortune Bay.

The water surface immediately outside of Northern Harvest Sea Farms' salmon pens is full of white matter, which fishermen Gary Snook calls fat.© Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation The water surface immediately outside of Northern Harvest Sea Farms' salmon pens is full of white matter, which fishermen Gary Snook calls fat.

On a smaller barge, three men used handheld nets to pick up matter floating on the ocean's surface.

White matter, which appears to be the remnants of dead fish, has flooded the ocean surface near the pens, spreading for dozens of metres from the boats. That same substance has also accumulated in nearby coves.

CBC News requested a site tour from Northern Harvest Sea Farms, a subsidiary of MOWI, but that request was denied.© Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation CBC News requested a site tour from Northern Harvest Sea Farms, a subsidiary of MOWI, but that request was denied.

"It's hard to sleep nighttime now, just to know what I've seen the last couple of days, what is going to the sea," said Gary Snook, who was chartered by CBC News for the trip.

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"And anything that's coming behind it, do it live? Does this fat that's on the water, do it dissolve? There's questions out there, we would really like to know."

CBC News requested a tour, and an explanation of the process from Mowi, but the company declined that request. Spokesperson Jason Card said all resources were being used to prioritize the cleanup of the sites.

a small boat in a body of water: Men work on the cleanup operation at a Northern Harvest Sea Farms site in Fortune Bay.© Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Men work on the cleanup operation at a Northern Harvest Sea Farms site in Fortune Bay.

Northern Harvest Sea Farms operates in several different sites along the south coast of Newfoundland, up to 30 kilometres apart.

The company says warm water caused low oxygen levels in the water, which killed the fish.

The white substance, which appears to be remnants of dead fish, is accumulating in coves and on the rocks in the nearby area.© Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation The white substance, which appears to be remnants of dead fish, is accumulating in coves and on the rocks in the nearby area.

"The fish mortalities pose no harm to humans, the environment, nor other fish or shellfish species," the company said in a statement in late September.

Warm water, not sea lice, caused massive salmon die-off, says chief vet

  Warm water, not sea lice, caused massive salmon die-off, says chief vet Northern Harvest Sea Farms is busy cleaning pens of dead salmon, and the province's head aquaculture vet says higher-than-average water temperatures are to blame.Some fish plant workers and the province's fish harvesters' union both raised the possibility that sea lice had caused thousands of salmon at a Northern Harvest Sea Farms facility to die early last month, but veterinarian Daryl Whelan rejected that possibility.

Two local lobster fishermen, including the owner of the boat chartered by CBC News, said they want more information about the cleanup.

a small boat in a body of water: Two men take handheld nets to the water to pick out matter from the ocean surface. Meanwhile, the Eastern Pride fishing vessel, which has been hired for cleanup duties, pours pink-coloured liquid into the sea.© Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Two men take handheld nets to the water to pick out matter from the ocean surface. Meanwhile, the Eastern Pride fishing vessel, which has been hired for cleanup duties, pours pink-coloured liquid into the sea.

"I fish herring, I fish lobster and I fish scallop. Do this settle down and pollute the bottom?" asked Snook. "We don't know, nobody is telling us nothing. And it's like you're out in the woods, you're lost.

"Is it going to affect us, should we start bailing out? Because it's times, people wants to buy the licence but it's not gonna be worth nothing."

a close up of a snow covered ground: Using an underwater camera, CBC News was able to get a closer look at the white substance that has flooded the ocean surface near the cleaning site.© Provided by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Using an underwater camera, CBC News was able to get a closer look at the white substance that has flooded the ocean surface near the cleaning site.

"We don't know, it probably might even have nothing to do with the lobsters, or any other fishery," added Phillip Poole. "I think we should know, we got the right to know. We've got money invested in that. My boat there now, plus all my gear and everything, is probably about half a million dollars."

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