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Environmental catastrophe in Chile due to the death of almost 5,600 tons of salmon

Fish Kill Alert

Chilean authorities reported on Monday the withdrawal of 5,595 tons of salmon killed due to the growth of a tide of harmful algae, a phenomenon that experts describe as an “environmental catastrophe” and blame both climate change and “irresponsible salmon farming.”

The flowering of microalgae, which leave the fish without oxygen, has affected the southern regions of Aysén and Los Lagos for weeks, two areas that lead the national production of salmon and combine 88% of the country’s total harvest.

In less than a week, 3,076 tons of salmon were lost in Los Lagos, equivalent to 11.8% of the active biomass, and 2,519 tons in Aysén, the National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service (Sernapesca) reported in a statement.

Of the 5,595 tons of dead fish, about 95% was removed, which was taken with boats and trucks to reduction plants to avoid environmental damage, they added from Sernapesca.

This phenomenon led almost twenty farming centers to implement action plans in the face of mass mortalities and affected the production of several of the large salmon farms operating in the country.

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Thousands of fish destroyed after massive landslide strikes Alaska

Landslide Danger Alert

One of the largest salmon hatcheries in the state was forced to destroy thousands of fish after a landslide Wednesday damaged a pipeline that supplies its water.

The Macaulay Salmon Hatchery in Juneau is run by Douglas Island Pink and Chum Inc., known locally as DIPAC. Its water comes from Salmon Creek Reservoir and shares a pipeline with Alaska Electric Light & Power’s power plant.

Debris from the slide and others along Salmon Creek road caused by heavy rain makes it difficult to access the area. That means it will take some time to repair the pipeline

Without a freshwater source, the hatchery’s staff had to make a tough decision over which fish to save with the remaining water.

They destroyed all the young chinook salmon and rainbow trout that would have been released next spring, and most of the young coho salmon, too.

The rest of the facility’s fish stock is stable for now. The hatchery is working with AEL&P to secure a backup water supply until the pipeline can come back on line.

The Salmon Creek trail remains closed while AEL&P makes repairs.

The hatchery has been operating in its current location since 1990, according to its website. It’s permitted for 135 million chum, 1.5 million coho, 1 million chinook and 50,000 rainbow trout. It can hold up to 300 million eggs and is one of the eight largest salmon hatcheries in the State of Alaska.

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77,000 salmon die in a salmon farm in Newfoundland, Canada #Salmon #Newfoundland #Canada

Fish Kill Alert

Some 77,000 salmon have died at a Cooke Aquaculture farm on Newfoundland’s south coast, the first to be reported under the Newfoundland and Labrador’s stricter public disclosure laws. In a statement, the Canadian firm said 14% of fish died at the 550,000-fish farm near Baie d’Espoir, Canada, putting the total number of dead salmon at about 77,000. Cooke blamed the latest die-off on “severe winter storm events” over the past month.

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130,000+ #salmon die off in #salmon farm in #Canada

Fish Kill Alert

Salmon losses at Cermaq Group’s farm sites off the west coast of Vancouver Island, Canada, have exceeded 100,000 fish, the company told Undercurrent News.

The first mortalities — caused by an algal bloom — were detected at the beginning of last week. “Efforts have been made to avoid further stress on surviving fish and maximize animal welfare, and dead fish have been continuously collected and are being transported for use in either rendering or compost,” the firm said.

Collection and transport have been following strict biosecurity processes.

“So far we have removed 130,000 fish. Before the algae bloom hit, we had a total of 1.4 million fish in these three farm sites.”

The company expects to be finished with removing the mortalities by the end of this week, though this depends on the further development of the bloom, it added.

All three farms have been taking measures to reduce the risk of such events, but this bloom is moving at lower depths to usual, meaning some of Cermaq’s tools like algae skirts or bubble curtains have not been effective.

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Mass die off of farmed #Salmon, “all the #salmon are dying”, in #Newfoundland and #Labrador, #Canada

Fish Kill Alert

Canada’s Northern Harvest Sea Farms, which Norway’s Mowi purchased in 2018, has suffered from a mass die-off of salmon at its Newfoundland and Labrador farms.

The company, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, has not disclosed how many fish have been lost in die-offs that began in early September but processing plant workers have been furloughed due to a lack of fish.

The farm’s spokesman, Jason Card, said that salmon normally thrive in water temperatures between 5 and 15 C, but water temperatures hovered between 18 and 21 C in August.

“Temperature spikes are not abnormal, but for that length of time they are,” Card said.

He ruled out other common problems for fish farmers — viruses and sea lice — as the cause of the die-offs.

Some workers at the Barry Group fish plant in Harbour Breton are worried about the future of their jobs.

“All our jobs are probably going to be in turmoil.… All the salmon are dying,” Gloria Pierce, a 40-year veteran of the plant said. “Bottom line is there’s no work for us, not for the remainder of this year until … maybe next year in August, which is a long time.”

Eric Day, another plant worker, blamed the die-offs on sea lice, which Northern Harvest has denied.

“Now it’s to the point that the sea lice [have] really grabbed hold of the fish big time, and of course it’s killing the fish,” Day said.

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Die off of #salmon causing collapse of #salmon #fishing in #BritishColumbia, #Canada

Fish Kill Alert

Don Sananin has loved the sea and fishing since he started in the industry as a 17-year-old.

On the water, being so close to nature, soothed his soul.

“It’s absolutely beautiful. I even love a good storm. There’s only a few jobs that brings out the soul in you.”

But after more than 50 years working as a commercial fisherman, the Burnaby man hasn’t seen a salmon season as grim as this year’s. Sananin, 70, who holds a licence for the area that includes the Fraser River to the west coast of Vancouver Island, hasn’t been out on the water yet. “There hasn’t been an opening,” he said. “The sockeye is the worst it’s ever been since the 1890s.”

He’s one of the commercial fishermen and other workers — who rely on abundant and healthy salmon stocks for their livelihood — hit hard by the decline in stocks, which the federal fisheries ministry has attributed largely to climate change.

On Monday, First Nations and union leaders said the federal and provincial governments need to step in to help fishermen through the worst commercial fishing season in 50 years as runs have plummeted for all species and in all regions. “The impacts of this climate-change disaster has been coast wide,” Joy Thorkelson, president of the United Fishermen and Allied Workers’ Union, said in New Westminster.

“The impacts are on fishermen, plant workers, net menders, and reduction plant workers, from Lax Kw’alaams [in northern B.C.] all the way down to White Rock and all the places in between.”

Thorkelson said at least 2,500 people have been affected by the downturn. She shared stories from union members who had called her office asking for help, including a fisherman whose catch can’t cover fuel and provision costs and a shore worker who told her she has to look into school breakfast and lunch programs because she can only afford to provide one meal for her child.

Many of the workers haven’t earned money since last year’s salmon season, she said, calling the situation “a huge crisis.”

“People need disaster relief now,” she said. “We need to talk to the government about what climate change adaptation is going to look like for the commercial industry in the future, but we need something to keep the bodies and souls of those people together.

“They have no money.”

Bob Chamberlain, a former vice-president of Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, says the government needs to come up with diverse solutions since global warming is an added stressor for salmon.

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Massive die off of #Salmon, millions have not shown up in #BritishColumbia, #Canada

Fish Kill Alert

Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson announced a further $2.7 million investment in salmon conservation projects, after government officials confirmed Thursday morning that salmon stocks across British Columbia are returning in concerningly low numbers.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada, also known as DFO, had previously forecast that 4,795,000 sockeye salmon would return to the Fraser River this year.

As the run starts, that number has been adjusted to 628,000 — just 13 per cent of that original forecast. The state of sockeye salmon is now so dire that some populations “face an imminent threat of extinction,” according to DFO.

“2019 has been a particularly difficult year for wild salmon,” Wilkinson said.

For Fraser River sockeye in particular, it “may be one of the worst years on record.”

On the Skeena River, 1.7 million sockeye salmon were forecast to return, but that has now been downgraded to 652,000.

The news isn’t as dire for other species of salmon, but the overall trend is that fewer fish are returning than DFO had forecasted. Scientists have warned that the Chinook salmon are also endangered, and some populations could be wiped out in the next 15 to 20 years if action is not taken now to help them recover.

The runs this year are too low for many commercial fisheries to operate. DFO has also restricted fishing opportunities for First Nations and recreational fishers.

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Large die off of #Salmon in #Alaksa, #USA


Fish Kill Alert

Locals first noticed the die-off of Salmon and scientists descended on the field to study the issue. The Yukon Inter-Tribal Fish Commission got involved. Its director, Stephanie Quinn-Davidson, accompanied by a team of scientists, took a trip along the Koyukuk River in Alaska at the end of July to gather first-hand information. They counted 850 dead unspawned salmon and felt the actual figure could be much higher.

In order to ascertain the cause of death, they cut open the fish and found the eggs intact. They looked for signs of lesions, parasites, and infections. Those were absent and they concluded that the heatwave was responsible for the situation.

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Large die off of #salmon in #NortonSound region, #Alaksa, #USA

Fish Kill Alert

Norton Sound residents have reported salmon die-offs in unusually large numbers during the last week.

According to the Norton Sound Economic Development Corp., dead pre-spawned pink salmon were found in multiple river systems last weekend.

The corporation’s fisheries director, Wes Jones, says the numbers of dead humpies being reported are larger than what’s normally seen in the Norton Sound region, spread out across several communities from east to west.

“There’s been reports all the way from here (Unalakleet) in Eastern Norton Sound all the way over to the Nome area. And it’s a very widespread area. The big change is that it appears that it is a much bigger event happening in eastern Norton Sound than what you’re seeing as you get closer to the Nome area.”

One of those reports came from Sophia Katchatag, the community coordinator for the Native Village of Shaktoolik. On Tuesday evening, Katchatag took her family up the Shaktoolik River, to a place called Jink-wok, to swim and cool off from the hot weather. She found a creek with “one area completely filled with dead pinks floating on top of the river.”

Katchatag didn’t pick any of them up, and she doesn’t intend to eat them, either.

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8 MILLION #salmon dead due to #algae bloom in #Norway

Fish Kill Alert

About eight million farmed salmon have suffocated in northern Norway over the past week as a result of persistent algae bloom, an industry body estimated on Thursday, a blight that some experts suggest has been aggravated by climate change.

Norway is a dominant producer of farmed salmon, and the economic impact of the bloom is significant.

A statement from the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries estimated the amount of salmon lost at 11,600 metric tons, worth about 720 million kroner, or more than $82 million. An industry group, the Norwegian Seafood Council, suggested the total could be much higher.

“Preliminary numbers point to eight million dead fish — corresponding to 40,000 metric tons of salmon that won’t reach markets,” Dag Sorli, a spokesman for the council, said in an email on Thursday. He put the value of the losses at 2.2 billion kroner.

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