Cooke said in a press release yesterday that the escape happened at the Olive Cove farm over the course of four days, from July 27 to 30.
A diver inspected the farm’s nets on July 30 and confirmed the escape, which happened after net extensions were sewn on to a pen at the operation.
“One of the ropes came undone in two places, resulting in two holes in the net around three to five feet long,” Cooke said in its release.
Joel Richardson, Cooke’s vice-president of public relations, told CBC the fish that escaped did not have infectious salmon anaemia (ISA) and were not being treated for lice.
“We never want to lose fish, that’s for sure. But at the same time we do everything we can to make sure that we recapture them and do everything we can to prevent fish from being released,” said Richardson.
“It’s an important measure that we take and we reported the release to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and to the province immediately when it was discovered, and that’s per the regulations and the farm management plan.”
Cooke's Newfoundland division, Cold Ocean Salmon, is trying to recapture the escaped fish, which weigh about 2kg, using gillnets approved by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).
The DFO said fishery officers are monitoring in the Hermitage area to help find escaped fish and is working with the company and provincial authorities to recapture the salmon.