A group of activists boarded our Burdwood salmon farm today, and illegally launched kayaks and divers into a pen holding harvest-size Atlantic salmon.
They violated multiple workplace safety regulations and procedures, violated our biosecurity protocols which are put in place to protect our fish, and removed several fish, holding them out of the water for a number of minutes. The fish were severely stressed, however it’s not yet known if they were killed upon being throwing back into the pen.
“The rights to hold differing opinions and engage in peaceful demonstration are hallmarks of a democratic society that Cermaq wholeheartedly supports. However, this disturbing incident was not peaceful, and put the lives of people and animals in danger,” said David Kiemele, Cermaq Canada’s managing director.
“This inhumane treatment of our animals will no doubt be used by the perpetrators to promote yet more misleading information about salmon farming. But what’s worse is that this stunt put the health and safety of the people on our farms, and our fish, at risk.”
Cermaq is committed to transparency, as was shown earlier this year when this particular farm experienced a diesel fuel spill due to human error. Throughout the investigation and clean-up of this unfortunate incident, the company and its staff co-operated fully with the authorities and with nearby communities. The company has made changes to internal policies and procedures since the incident to further reduce the risk of spills in the future.
However, some activists are claiming that the fish at this farm were somehow contaminated by the spill, and that we are somehow engaging in wrong-doing by harvesting them. This is not true, as the fish were tested shortly after the spill and were found to have no trace of fuel in their flesh. The test results (below) showed that these fish are safe and healthy.
“Before we harvest our fish from any site, we test them to make sure they are healthy and that they are free of any contaminants that would make them unsafe to eat,” said Dr. Barry Milligan, veterinarian and Cermaq Canada’s fish health manager. “The fish at Burdwood have undergone that testing, and before that, they were also tested after the fuel spill in spring. There was no detectable residue in their flesh from the spill.”
Cermaq Canada is committed to transparency, and has welcomed hundreds of people on farm tours. We welcome debate and discussion about our farms and fish, but today’s incident was not appropriate or constructive.