A Mowi salmon farm in the Discovery Islands (DI). In December last year the then fisheries minister Bernadette Jordan announced the closure of 19 DI farms belonging to Mowi and other fish farmers, a decision Mowi blames for a hatchery closure. Photo: Mowi.

Mowi blames Canadian government for BC hatchery closure

Mowi Canada West today announced the temporary shutdown of its Dalrymple salmon hatchery near Sayward, British Columbia. It said the decision was a direct result of the Liberal Government’s decision on December 17 last year to cancel 19 salmon farming licences in the Discovery Islands. The farms must close by June next year.

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“The former federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Bernadette Jordan, stated that her decision only impacts the Discovery Islands. However, her decision to remove 30% of Mowi’s production has forced the company to reduce its hatcheries by one. Dalrymple hatchery - one of three owned and operated by Mowi – will be closed in May 2022, with a plan to restart when production requirements allow. This decision will impact 17 employees,” Mowi said in a press release.

Mowi Canada West spokesperson Dean Dobrinsky said: “The decision of the former Minister continues to challenge our company and has lasting implications.

“It is clearly evident her decision is far reaching, incredibly damaging to the communities where we operate and could have been mitigated had the Ministry engaged with our company to fully understand the impact on coastal communities who depend on this sector.

“Our heart goes out to those employees who built their career with Mowi and whose families relied on this hatchery for their livelihood. We look forward to reopening the facility when production needs require it.”

Mowi said it will look for opportunities within the company for the affected employees and for now will rely on the continued production at its Big Tree Creek and Ocean Falls hatcheries for smolt supply.

Mowi Canada West and other affected companies in British Columbia are currently in federal court for a judicial review of the decision made by Jordan, regarding licences for salmon farms in the Discovery Islands area. Mowi is asking the court to find the decision unreasonable and to set it aside.

The announcement of the hatchery closure comes on the same day that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the ministers who will make up his minority government following last month’s general election.

Vancouver Quadra MP Joyce Murray takes over as fisheries minister after Jordan lost her seat in the election. Murray is opposed to net-pen farming and supported the Discovery Islands closures.