The city of Saint John, where residents have been building sandbag walls to protect homes. Photo: Stephen MacGillivray / Canadian Press.

Cooke sends farm boats to aid flood-hit residents

Salmon farmer Cooke Aquaculture has sent five boats and staff to help with flood relief efforts in its home county of New Brunswick in Atlantic Canada.

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Cooke, which has its headquarters in Blacks Harbour, sent two boats to the village of Cambridge-Narrows on the Washademoak Lake earlier this week, and has now diverted three more boats and marine staff from its Charlotte County fish farming operations to help with flood relief efforts in Grand Bay-Westfield and the city of Saint John.

The motor boats are all 21-25 feet long, equipped with safety equipment and are run by trained Cooke Aquaculture operators accompanied by local first responders, the salmon farmer said in a press release.

‘Currents are strong’

The New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization (NBEMO) has advised the public that water levels have yet to reach their highest levels in a number of communities along the southern regions of the St John River basin. 

Residents living near the St John River system have been told to continue exercising extreme caution and remain alert to rising water levels over the coming days.

“We encourage people to follow the Emergency Measures Organization advice to avoid boating, kayaking or other water activities this time of year as currents are strong and may carry debris,” said Cooke press spokesman Joel Richardson.

“In last year’s flood our boats retrieved everything from half-submerged building materials, gasoline cans, and tyres to propane tanks from the water. People should stay away from the rivers and lakes until it is safer.”