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Northern Harvest Sea Farms logo. Image: Northern Harvest
Northern Harvest Sea Farms logo. Image: Northern Harvest

Mowi-owned Northern Harvest has received the interim results from an environmental monitoring study which determined that there is less than 3% of salmon fat deposits left along the coastline after last year’s die-off of 2.6 million salmon in Newfoundland, Canada.

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The study surveyed 50 kilometres of coastline. It determined that no birds were affected and that most of the salmon fat from the die-off washed off shore.

The Mi'kmaq Alsumk Mowimsikik Koqoey Association (MAMKA) led the survey. The indigenous association used video and visual monitoring as well as aerial footage to assess the conditions.

Fisheries technicians who monitored the Fortune Bay coastline said that environmental impact was low in the area. “It wasn't major, in my opinion,” said Dean McDonald of Conne River. He told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that the salmon fat covering the shoreline looked unsightly but dissipated “significantly” over the span of several visits.

"There was a bit of grease on the shoreline, no doubt. Certain places it did gather up, which kind of looked bad.”

Underwater

McDonald added that an underwater drone helped determine that "there was no grease. No pieces of fish. No dead anything other than a broken dinner plate on the sea bottom”.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) commented on the matter and said there were “no widespread impacts.”

 “While fatty material persists in some localised areas, much of the material previously seen on beaches and in coves has dispersed,” said a DFO statement to the CBC.

The DFO still plans to conduct a survey in which it will study the long term impacts of the die-off on the environment.

Apology

Last summer Northern Harvest lost 2.6 million farmed Atlantic salmon due to unusually warm ocean temperatures.

The Canadian government suspended licences for 10 Northern Harvest farms after the incident and has yet to lift the suspension.

Due to weather conditions only seven of the 10 farming sites were surveyed. The final report will include data from all the sites.

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