Northern Harvest fined for illegal use of pesticide

Published on
May 18, 2018

Northern Harvest Sea Farms was recently fined CAD 12,000 (USD 9,375 EUR 7,947) for the illegal use of pesticides on its salmon farm off Head Harbour on Campobello Island, Canada, according to the Canadian Broadcast Company

The company admitted on 15 May that it knowingly used the pesticide Salmosan 50 WP on 26 July, 2017, without the proper permitting to address a sea lice outbreak. The company had applied for a permit on 18 July, 2017, but used the pesticide before it had received permission. 

Commercial fishing groups in the area were disappointed by the fine, saying that it was too small to address any future use of pesticide. 

"I think any time there's a fine that's a deterrent to illegal activity, it should be an actual deterrent to the activity," Bonnie Morse, project manager with the Grand Manan Fishermen’s Association, told the CBC. "When you're looking at CAD 1.5 million [USD 1.2 million, EUR 1 million] worth of fish, their actions speak for themselves."

Salmosan 50 WP has been found to be fatal to ocean-dwelling crustaceans, particularly lobster. Nearby lobster holding facilities said they were concerned about the use of pesticide since before the salmon farms were approved. 

"I know they had a million dollars worth of lobster on their site at that time," Maria Recchia, executive director of the Fundy North Fishermen’s Association, told the CBC. 

Whether the pesticide had any harm on lobsters is disputed, with Crown prosecutor Christopher Titus claiming that it had no harm. 

Matt Abbot of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick disputed that claim.

"Dead lobsters don't crawl into traps. This offence occurred outside lobster season,” he told the CBC. "To have the Crown or anyone else claim that there was no harm done from these pesticides is really quite shocking.”

Northern Harvest has also had to deal with a recent outbreak of infectious salmon anemia at a salmon farming site in Newfoundland, Canada. The company in the process of being acquired by Norway-based salmon farming company Marine Harvest, pending approval of Canadian authorities.

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