We have been hearing some interesting rumors going through the salmon farming grapevine the last few days. Apparently, the Agrimarine ‘closed containment’ farm near Campbell River suffered some serious damage during intense storms last week.
How serious? Apparently the circular tank is flopping open and closed like a broken hula hoop and Agrimarine has had to put in a net to keep the fish from escaping. With that kind of damage it seems very likely fish escaped through the broken tank wall.
As well, we hear that most of the farm’s 50,000 or so fish have had to be harvested because the tank is too badly damaged to hold them. Judging by when the fish were first entered with much fanfare they would only be at about half their target weight.
That’s unfortunate but technology pilots are prone to failure and this shouldn’t be too surprising.
Except from day one this project has been pitched as the savior of the aquaculture industry, and has been sold as so much better than conventional net pens.
People have a preconceived idea of farmed fish, and farmed salmon has a negative perception in Western Canada. We are educating the market about sustainability in the industry and have the first mover advantage of leading the industry into positive change. We have strong
environmental support and large North American and European retailers are making commitments towards seafood sustainability. We are well positioned in this regard as the only company that offers solid‐wall closed containment for salmon that can meet stakeholders’
demands for sustainable supplies.
He also said this:
As a former net cage salmon farm operator, we have a deep understanding of fish culture and the issues related to escapes, algae blooms and pollution to the surrounding eco‐systems related to fish farming. Our goal is to prove that salmon farming can be done in a sustainable and cost effective manner.
AgriMarine has a ‘disruptive’ technology that is poised to become the industry standard.
Was DFO notified? Does AgriMarine have to follow the same procedures and meet the same standards as conventional farms? If not, why not?
We wonder what shareholders think? Have they even been notified about the severe damage and escapes? We suspect not, since Agrimarine’s board is trying to extend the expiry date of some of its share warrants by another year. The fact that this was announced on a Saturday seems a bit odd, especially after the rumors we have been hearing.
Is the board trying to lock in its private investors for another year, before they realize the project has failed and their investment is worthless?
Guess we’ll find out after the weekend.
Meanwhile, it’s been interesting to watch this demonstration project. As far as we are concerned, considering none of the conventional salmon farms in BC suffered damage or escapes during the storms, it demonstrates that current net pen technology is the most efficient and sustainable way to grow enough salmon to supply the marketplace.