Smolts from three hatcheries on North Vancouver Island which were scheduled for fish farms in Discovery Islands will be culled as there are no other production sites to move them to, said Mowi Canada West. (Photo courtesy, Mowi)

Smolts from three hatcheries on North Vancouver Island which were scheduled for fish farms in Discovery Islands will be culled as there are no other production sites to move them to, said Mowi Canada West. (Photo courtesy, Mowi)

UPDATE: Vancouver Island hatcheries cull 2.6M fish due to federal farm decision

Mowi Canada West estimates huge revenue loss from the culling

Three hatcheries north of Campbell River are set to cull 2.6 million fish estimating a huge revenue loss for aquaculture company Mowi Canada West.

[The article has been updated: The earlier estimates reported by Mowi were 8.3 million smolts]

Fry and smolts that were being raised at Big Tree Creek, Dalrymple and Ocean Falls hatcheries were to supply Mowi’s Discovery Island fish farms. But now these fish will have to be culled as there are no other production sites to move them to, said Dean Dobrinksky, Mowi human resources, safety and communications manager.

“Aquaculture industry works on a five year cycle and fish are at different stages in the cycle. We had salmon that was slated to go to the Discovery Island farms this spring, but as per the Dec. 17 federal decision operators are not allowed to add any new stocks in these sites,” Dobrinsky said.

In December, Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan announced her decision to phase out 19 Discovery Islands fish farms by 2022 after consultation with seven First Nations that hold title in the area. For years, several Indigenous groups and wild salmon advocates had been calling for the removal of fish farms from B.C.’s waters, arguing that they threaten the health of wild salmon.

Operators have been given an 18-month grace period to harvest close to three million salmon that are already in these pens.

READ MORE: Canada ‘stole Christmas’ says Vancouver Island’s aquaculture industry While the decision impacted three major aquaculture companies based out of Campbell River – Mowi Canada West, Grieg Seafood BC, and Cermaq – Mowi took the biggest hit with 30 per cent of their overall production in B.C. concentrated in the Discovery Islands farms. A day before the minister’s announcement, fish from the hatcheries were scheduled to be transferred to the farms in Discovery Islands, said Dobrinksky.

The 18-month period is too short a notice to sort out operational logistics, according to Dobrinksy, who said that it disrupted the five year cycle under which the company operates.

“It’s going to be an awful experience for the farmers at the hatcheries who were taking care of the fish, feeding them and making sure that they are healthy,” said Dobrinsky, and added, “and now we’re going to be asking those same employees to kill them.”

Editor’s note: The article has been updated. The earlier estimates reported by Mowi were 8.3 million smolts.

SEE: Mowi backtracks on fish cull losses – 8.3 million to 2.6 million

Campbell RiverFish Farms

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Erin Haluschak visits the VI Free Daily/PQB News studio. (Peter McCully photo)
PQBeat: Erin Haluschak talks missing persons on Vancouver Island, women in media

Podcast: Black Press reporter also talks about importance of women in the media

(File photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo to increase fees for disposal of mattresses

Current rate of $15 per unit not enough to cover recycling

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Former University of British Columbia student Stephanie Hale, 22. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff Bassett
Human Rights Tribunal to hear complaint against UBC Okanagan for ‘mishandling’ sexual assault report

Stephanie Hale did not return to campus after the student she alleges attacked her was cleared of wrongdoing

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman’s restaurant is located in the tiny community of Field, which relies on tourism

NEW CUTLINE Payphone use is declining dramatically. (Black Press Files)

This payphone sits just east of TD Bank in Parksville, on Harrison Avenue. (Emily Vance photo)
Last call approaches for Vancouver Island payphones?

Some payphones don’t get used for days as mobile phones diminishing need

Garden centre manager Jack Olszewski and Chris Beaudoin say business has grown by 50 per cent at the Sooke Home Hardware Store. (Rick Stiebel - Sooke News Mirror)
Flower power: COVID restrictions fuel bloom boom on Vancouver Island’

More people seeking flowers to add colour, says Sooke landscaper

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Most Read