Gray Aquaculture’s compensation for infected salmon ordered destroyed could reach more than $13 million.
The Telegram has learned from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency that all salmon from cages where infectious salmon anemia was confirmed earlier this month have already been removed from the company’s Butter Cove site and destroyed, and the remaining unaffected fish are still being removed. The salmon are being taken to a rendering plant, said Gray Aqua vice-president Clyde Collier on Thursday.
“They’re made into fish meal,” said Collier, who added that fish meal made from infected fish won’t spread the anemia. Collier said the anemia, which in some strains can kill up to 85 per cent of infected fish, found in Butter Cove hasn’t proved fatal to Gray Aqua stock. “The reality is we’ve not really seen any mortality from this anyway. It’s something that showed up in a lab test, so they’re just taking a precautionary approach to it all.”
Representatives from the agency declined to comment on the removal of the fish, but in an email to the Telegram said the facility’s quarantine will remain in place until all fish have been removed and all pens, cages and equipment have been cleaned and disinfected.
While the company and the agency have worked out what will happen with the fish, financial details are still being decided. In cases where the federal agency orders animals destroyed — such as this one — it may compensate the company for the loss of its stock.
“We’re still working on that. We still don’t have all those details,” said Collier, who earlier this month estimated the fish stock to be worth about $15 million. “I’m not sure how that will work in the end.”
Suzi Beck, a media relations co-ordinator for the agency, wrote in an email that compensation discussions with the company are ongoing.
“Compensation amounts are based on market value. The amounts are intended to reflect the reasonable market value that an owner could expect to receive for the fish up to the maximum of $30,” wrote Beck. “Evaluators determine market value, based on factors such as age and sizes (weight). In addition, compensation may include costs related to the destruction and disposal of the fish.”
With a maximum of $30 per fish — and 450,000 fish at Gray Aqua’s Butter Cove site to be destroyed — compensation from the federal government could run to $13.5 million. Beck, who also noted there are no health risks to other animals that eat fish infected with anemia, wrote that an evaluation team would determine the final amount of compensation once all the fish have been counted and assessed.
Collier said he expected the fish removal to be complete by Aug. 4.