Despite the recent ISA case at its farm site in Butter Cove that resulted in the loss of 450,000 salmon, Gray Aquaculture is planning to move forward with its operations in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Clyde Collier, Gray’s top official in the province, said that the company would continue building its processing facility at Hermitage-Sandyville that should see some processing activity later this year.
Collier said, “The only big difference at Hermitage will be the volume of activity going on there this fall due to the ISA outbreak. However, we have fish as our site in Pass My Can (name on charts) that will be ready for processing by this fall.
“The ISA case doesn’t really change our plans in any way at all actually. We’re still on the same path, and we plan on moving forward with our operations on the south coast.”
Collier said that the removal of the fish at Butter Cove was about half way completed as of July 30.
‘There are different strains of ISA and some have more virulence than others. While we won’t be able to say anything definitively about this strain until after all the testing is completed at some later date, it didn’t show it had the ability to kill fish or to move from cage to cage.”
Collier said that the ISA outbreak only affected fish in three cages right up to the removal process even though all the cages at the site were in a line with one almost touching the other.
Apparently, too, during the outbreak, mortality rates at the site were less than normal in being down to. 01 per cent a day. The average number of mortalities at a farm site is about .05 per cent a day.
A recent article in the Telegram said that Gray Aqauculture could receive as much as $13 million in compensation for the lost fish.
Collier said that this report looked at the extreme end of any possible compensation package based on the maximum of $30 per fish.
“We’re working at certain things right now with regards to possible compensation, but I don’t think we’re going to be anywhere near that $13 million mark noted in the telegram,” Collier said.
“As of Monday July 30, a spokesperson for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said that compensation amounts had not been decided for the company, but discussions were ongoing.
The amounts of any compensation are intended to reflect the reasonable market value that an owner could expect to receive for the fish up to a maximum of $30 as set out in the Compensation for Destroyed Animals Regulations.
Evaluators determine market value based on factors such as age and size. In addition, compensation may include costs related to the destruction and disposal of the fish.
Collier said that the ISA outbreak means that, in some ways, it will never be business as usual for the aquaculture companies in the Coast of Bays.
He said, “This has certainly brought the issue of diseases in aquaculture such as ISA to the forefront. All companies will be intensifying their moves toward such protocols as bay management now.”