PORT HARDY, B.C. — “Most” of the 21,000 Atlantic salmon at a fish farm off the northern edge of Vancouver Island have escaped following a fire, according to the company operating the farm.
Mowi Canada West, which runs the Robertson Island farm near Port Hardy, B.C., said a fire took place Saturday night that caused “significant damage to the net pen structure and nets.”
No one was injured during the blaze.
The company, formerly known as Marine Harvest, said it would be investigating what caused the fire. It said federal regulators and local First Nations had been informed about the incident.
“Once all fish are removed, the pen will be towed to land and an investigation undertaken to determine what caused the fire,” the company said in a statement.
“Those fish remaining in the pen have been secured, and will be removed.”
According to a report from The Canadian Press, area environmental and indigenous groups said in a statement the escape presents ecological and environmental risks to wild salmon stocks.
The federal Liberal government pledged during the fall election campaign to transition British Columbia’s open net pen salmon farms to closed containment systems by 2025, The Canadian Press reported.