Aquaculture North America

Canadian RAS farmer loses stock in power outage

February 22, 2023
By Nestor Arellano

Photo: Pisciculture Acadienne.

The recent deep freeze that caused widespread power outage in many parts of Canada was a disaster for New Brunswick land-based fish farm operator Pisciculture Acadienne.

The business, which raises Arctic char in a facility Bas-Caraquet on the Acadian Peninsula, said it lost 95 per cent of its stock or 95,000 to 100,000 fish worth at least $600,000, when power was knocked out due to extreme cold. Wind chill was recorded at -40 to -50 C (-40 to -58 F) during that time.

“It takes like two years to build an inventory like that. I don’t know what’s going to be next, but for sure we’re going to need help,” said owner Emmanuel Chiasson in an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC).

More than 29,000 customers of the New Brunswick Power Corporation, lost their power during the deep freeze, according to a report from CBC.

The incident highlighted the dependence of indoor, land-based operations to electric power. The extreme weather caused a power outage. Later on, the facility’s generator failed. Without power the water in the tanks could not circulate. Soon the fish ran out of oxygen.

Chiasson said the fish could survive without power for about one hour. It took Pisciculture Acadienne staff over two hours to restart the facility’s system.

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