Aquaculture North America

Grieg’s Newfoundland operations remain on target despite snag

September 1, 2021
By Liza Mayer

Atlantic salmon smolt. The postponement of the fish transfer to the net pens has only minor financial impact, says Grieg NL Photo: BCSFA

Grieg Seafood Newfoundland expects to reach its 2025 target harvest of 15,000 tonnes despite the culling of 1 million smolts this past summer because one fish was found to have the infectious salmon anemia virus (ISAv).

The company said no other sample was found to have the virus; however, out of abundance of caution it culled the entire batch raised at its brand-new recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) smolt facility in Marystown, Newfoundland. 

“We will not risk introducing the virus into the environment. The company has stated all along that the farming region will be developed gradually and responsibly to optimize biological conditions and to ensure sustainable operations,” said Knut Skeidsvoll, managing director of Grieg Seafood Newfoundland.

This fish culled would have been the first batch to be transferred to the sea, in Placentia Bay, where they would have grown to market size. Instead, a new generation of fish will be transferred in the spring of 2022.  The new batch of fish, around 3 million, will be harvested in 2023 and 2024.

“Our plans and vision beyond this first group of fish have not changed, and we are using the experience gained to improve for the next generation. We are confident that we will be able to build a strong farming region in Newfoundland during the next years, and create jobs and value for the local communities here,” said Skeidsvoll.

The financial impact of the postponement is minor, as the first group of fish had few individuals (1 million) compared to regular operations (3 million), said the company.

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