CANADA - Marine Harvest Canada (MHC) has withdrawn from the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification process after the accidental drowning of six California sea lions at its Shelter Bay salmon farm near Port Hardy BC.
The sea lions were discovered by divers earlier in July while conducting routine underwater inspection of the farm’s predator defense netting.
A small opening into the enclosed area beneath one of the eight sea cages was closed off to prevent further incident. The matter has been reported to Fisheries and Oceans Canada in accordance with the farm’s license conditions. No farm fish escaped the containment net.
"Marine Harvest is very disappointed by the demise of these sea lions but affirms that its commitment to operate in a manner that avoids harm to sea lions remains in force," said Clare Backman, Marine Harvest’s Public Affairs Director.
"Marine production staff are now examining all farm sites to prevent a repeat occurrence," added Ms Backman.
Although it occurred two months after an on-site ASC audit, the incident exceeds the threshold criteria established by this standard. MHC has voluntarily withdrawn the farm from the ASC certification process.
TheFishSite News Desk