We have been hearing some unfortunate rumours this week. Apparently Agrimarine has laid off employees from its Middle Point facility.
We have not been able to find any official company statement confirming this; however we have heard this rumour from several different sources.
This is very unfortunate and we hope that the workers are able to find new jobs with minimal disruption.
We have to say that we’re not surprised, though. After the system was damaged in a spring storm, the stock price entered a tailspin which has now bottomed out around eight cents per share.
Oddly, the environmental groups who were so quick to praise the system as the savior of the aquaculture industry have been silent about Agrimarine since then.
Guess the honeymoon’s over. Or the grant money’s gone.
Can’t say we’re surprised. The floating tank system creates more problems than it solves for the fish inside. The only thing it’s good for is looking “environmentally friendly.”
And it’s not even really that. The floating tank system really does nothing to stop disease and parasite interactions between wild and farmed fish. The tank is open to the ocean at the top and below. The risk still exists to transmit pathogens between wild and farmed fish.
The one positive feature of the floating tank was its waste collection system (although we hear that wasn’t working very well). It’s not a bad idea to try and collect fish waste.
And conventional salmon farmers have been looking at this for years. Many different systems have been tried, none have proven practical to use on a large scale. Yet.
For example, farmers looked at using an uplift system similar to the one used today to collect dead fish. It works, but has no real benefits and may create fish health problems. Not quite ready for prime time.
We are confident that some day soon conventional salmon farmers will hit on a system which can collect fish waste and reduce environmental impacts, while increasing the benefits of farming in the ocean. It’s only a matter of time.
Because people have innovative ideas all the time. Science and technology and innovation are at the heart of aquaculture, and Agrimarine should be commended for trying something new.
But the reality is, as Agrimarine learned, some ideas just don’t work, no matter how hard you try and sell them as the “next big thing.”