RAS farmer Pisciculture Acadienne loses 95 percent of stock to extreme cold

The Pisciculture Acadienne RAS farm.

Saint Simon, New Brunswick, Canada-based Arctic char farming firm Pisciculture Acadienne lost up to 100,000 fish during a recent bout of extreme cold in the Eastern Canadian province.

Pisciculture Acadienne Owner Emmanuel Chiasson said he lost an estimated 95,000 to 100,000 Arctic char after a power outage, combined with a failed generator, knocked out the oxygen supply to the company’s fish tanks between Friday, 3 February, and Saturday, 4 February. Record cold temperatures in the region resulted in nearly 30,000 New Brunswick Power customers to lose power, according to the CBC.

Chiasson estimated the fish were worth at least CAD 600,000 (USD 447,000, EUR 417,000). He said his building in Bas-Caraquet, New Brunswick, was insured, but the fish were not.

"Right now we don't know if we'll be able to continue this operation,” he told the CBC.

Pisciculture Acadienne, or Acadian Fish Farm, specializes in growing Arctic char in an indoor recirculating aquaculture system, without the use of hormones or antibiotics. The fish are raised in a natural water temperature of 7 degrees Celsius and the company does not use energy to heat or cool its tank water. Fish waste from the facility recycled into fertilizer to grow wheat, which is used by local farmers, according to FishChoice.

Chiasson said he will apply for financial assistance from local banks, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and the government of New Brunswick, but future of his farm and its five employees is uncertain.

"It takes like two years to build an inventory like that," he said. "I don't know what's going to be next, but for sure we're going to need help."

Chiasson said if he chooses to restart operations at the farm, his clients may find other sources of fish by the time he is ready to begin supplying them again.

Chiasson said the mortalities were a result of a lack of oxygen reaching the tanks after it took the farm’s workers more than two hours to restart the filtration system after power was lost and the farm’s electronic system failed to work with power from the company’s back-up generator.

Photo courtesy of Pisciculture Acadienne


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