Smolts from three hatcheries on North Vancouver Island which were scheduled for fish farms in Discovery Islands will be culled as there are no other production sites to move them to, said Mowi Canada West. (Photo courtesy, Mowi)

Smolts from three hatcheries on North Vancouver Island which were scheduled for fish farms in Discovery Islands will be culled as there are no other production sites to move them to, said Mowi Canada West. (Photo courtesy, Mowi)

UPDATE: Vancouver Island hatcheries cull 2.6M fish due to federal farm decision

Mowi Canada West estimates huge revenue loss from the culling

Three hatcheries north of Campbell River are set to cull 2.6 million fish estimating a huge revenue loss for aquaculture company Mowi Canada West.

[The article has been updated: The earlier estimates reported by Mowi were 8.3 million smolts]

Fry and smolts that were being raised at Big Tree Creek, Dalrymple and Ocean Falls hatcheries were to supply Mowi’s Discovery Island fish farms. But now these fish will have to be culled as there are no other production sites to move them to, said Dean Dobrinksky, Mowi human resources, safety and communications manager.

“Aquaculture industry works on a five year cycle and fish are at different stages in the cycle. We had salmon that was slated to go to the Discovery Island farms this spring, but as per the Dec. 17 federal decision operators are not allowed to add any new stocks in these sites,” Dobrinsky said.

In December, Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan announced her decision to phase out 19 Discovery Islands fish farms by 2022 after consultation with seven First Nations that hold title in the area. For years, several Indigenous groups and wild salmon advocates had been calling for the removal of fish farms from B.C.’s waters, arguing that they threaten the health of wild salmon.

Operators have been given an 18-month grace period to harvest close to three million salmon that are already in these pens.

READ MORE: Canada ‘stole Christmas’ says Vancouver Island’s aquaculture industry While the decision impacted three major aquaculture companies based out of Campbell River – Mowi Canada West, Grieg Seafood BC, and Cermaq – Mowi took the biggest hit with 30 per cent of their overall production in B.C. concentrated in the Discovery Islands farms. A day before the minister’s announcement, fish from the hatcheries were scheduled to be transferred to the farms in Discovery Islands, said Dobrinksky.

The 18-month period is too short a notice to sort out operational logistics, according to Dobrinksy, who said that it disrupted the five year cycle under which the company operates.

“It’s going to be an awful experience for the farmers at the hatcheries who were taking care of the fish, feeding them and making sure that they are healthy,” said Dobrinsky, and added, “and now we’re going to be asking those same employees to kill them.”

Editor’s note: The article has been updated. The earlier estimates reported by Mowi were 8.3 million smolts.

SEE: Mowi backtracks on fish cull losses – 8.3 million to 2.6 million

Campbell RiverFish Farms

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

A rainbow shining on Kelowna General Hospital on May 12, 2020 International Nurses Day. (Steve Wensley - Prime Light Media)
New COVID cases trending down in Interior Health

24 new cases reported Thursday, Feb. 25, death at Kelowna General Hospital

(File Photo)
Crash causes delays on Coquihalla southbound, travel advisory issued

A vehicle incident between Merrit and Hope has caused major delays heading south

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Most Read