NL fisheries minister Gerry Byrne, left, will be among politicians questioning Mowi chief executive Alf-Helge Aarskog later today.

Mowi chief Aarskog to meet with NL ministers today

Mowi chief executive Alf-Helge Aarskog is due to meet with Newfoundland and Labrador premier Dwight Ball and fisheries minister Gerry Byrne in Canada later today to talk about the way forward for the company in the province – including how it can lift the suspension of 10 farm licences.

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It follows the die-off of 2.6 million salmon being grown by Mowi subsidiary Northern Harvest in the province and Byrne’s decision to suspend the licences of the farms where the mortalities occurred.

Byrne made the decision after Northern Harvest failed to report the full extent of the mortality quickly enough, having originally said the number of dead salmon was 2 million. He also demanded that Mowi’s chief officer should appear before NL ministers in person.

Nets too shallow

At the presentation of Mowi’s third-quarter report in Oslo last week, Aarskog blamed the fish deaths on unusually high sea water temperatures combined with nets that were too shallow to allow the fish to reach cooler water at depth. He said failure to immediately report the extra 600,000 deaths had been a mistake made by “stressed out” fish farmers.

Mowi communications director Ola Helge Hjetland said Aarskog looked forward to explaining why the fish had died and the investments Mowi planned to make in the future, including new pens.

“The late reporting is not acceptable and will not happen again,” said Hjetland.

He added that Aarskog would be seeking “some clarity” on what practices were acceptable to the NL government and how it could lift the suspensions on its sites.