Feds to compensate fish farm for ISA losses

Jonathan Riley, Digby Courier jriley@digbycourier.ca
Published on April 28, 2012
Cooke Aquaculture has salmon cages, like these in Brier Island, in several different parts of Nova Scotia, in part they say to control spread of disease.
Jonathan Riley

The federal government will compensate Cooke Aquaculture for the hundreds of thousands of salmon ordered destroyed in Shelburne this week.

The Canadian Food and Inspection Agency order the New Brunswick-based salmon farming company to destroy all the remaining fish on a farm of cages just outside Shelburne Harbour after the CFIA confirmed "additional cases" of infectious salmon anaemia.

Two pens of fish had already been destroyed in February when officials first suspected and later confirmed ISA in those cages. ISA poses no known danger to humans.

CFIA spokesman Guy Gravelle says an assessment team has visited the site to begin the process of determining the amount of compensation.

He says the team will use information from an independent business publisher to determine market value and combine that with the age and weight of the fish.

"The amounts are intended to reflect the reasonable market value that an owner could expect to receive for the fish up to the maximum of $30, as set out in the Compensation for Destroyed Animals Regulations," he said. "In addition, compensation may include costs related to the destruction and disposal of the fish."

The assessment team consisted of an industry representative, two CFIA economists and a CFIA veterinarian, said Gravelle.

The Shelburne Harbour fish farm will remain under quarantine for several months while all the fish are removed to a compost facility, and all the pens, cages and nets are cleaned and disinfected.

Nell Halse, spokesperson for Cooke Aquaculture says the site and all the sites in the Shelburne area will lie fallow until probably this time next year.

She says this situation is one reason why Cooke's likes to have several farm locations.

"It's only one farm, but this is why we have farms in New Brunswick and in different areas around Nova Scotia, and farms in Newfoundland," says Halse. "It's a lot of fish, it's a setback, but that's why we're not putting all our fish in one area."

Halse says the company's plans for further expansion in Nova Scotia remain unchanged.

"We are still hopefully going forward in the near future with plans for the hatchery for the Digby area and expanding the feedmill , and making some applications for new sites."