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Escaped farmed salmon found in New Brunswick waterway

Biologist Graham Chafe holds an escaped farmed Atlantic salmon at the Magaguadavic River fishway in St. George, NB. Image: Eric Brunsdon/ASF
Biologist Graham Chafe holds an escaped farmed Atlantic salmon at the Magaguadavic River fishway in St. George, NB. Image: Eric Brunsdon/ASF

The Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) has raised concerns due to the discovery of farmed salmon that have been found in a New Brunswick (NB) waterway.

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The Atlantic salmon were attempting to enter the Magaguadavic River through the fishway located near the town of St. George where the river meets the Bay of Fundy.

According to an ASF press release 53 salmon were removed from the fishway. The exact origin of the escaped salmon has not been determined. Although, there are links to local Cooke Aquaculture site where salmon escaped from in August.

A Cooke representative confirmed that the event did occur. “A pipe broke as fish were being transferred from a net-pen to a well-boat for sea lice treatment. It was initially estimated that 2500 large salmon escaped, although Cooke representatives have since downgraded their estimate to 1000,” said the ASF press release. 

“While we appreciate a prompt response from Cooke to our inquiries and the fact the company consented to the release of some information by provincial officials, this news was not shared widely with the public,” said Neville Crabbe, executive director of communications for the ASF. “In general, silence and secrecy about escape events puts endangered Bay of Fundy wild Atlantic salmon at risk.”

Escape events

In New Brunswick companies are only required to report escape events when more than 100 fish have been lost. Those reports are then treated as confidential and only released with consent of the company.

Early this year the province of New Brunswick began consultations on the development of a new provincial Aquaculture Act and regulations.

The Atlantic Salmon Federation is an international conservation organization established in 1948. The federation focuses on conservation, protection and restoration of wild Atlantic salmon.

Cooke Aquaculture Inc. is a vertically-integrated aquaculture corporation based in Blacks Harbour, New Brunswick, Canada with salmon farming operations in Atlantic Canada, the United States (Maine and Washington), Chile and Scotland

 

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