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Company says severe winter weather responsible for fish farm die-off in N.L.

An Atlantic salmon is seen during a Department of Fisheries and Oceans fish health audit at the Okisollo fish farm near Campbell River, B.C. Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018. The Canadian Press /Jonathan Hayward

A Canadian seafood giant says severe winter storms over the last month killed off 15 per cent of the Atlantic salmon at a Newfoundland fish farm.

A statement from Cold Ocean Salmon Inc., owned by New Brunswick-based Cooke Aquaculture Inc., says approximately 77,000 of 550,000 salmon died in two cages at the cage site near Manual Arm.

READ MORE: Company says 2.6 million farmed salmon died in southern Newfoundland pens

The company says the fish have not tested positive for reportable diseases and the dead fish are being cleaned from affected sea cages.

The company says its response plan also involves harvesting the two affected sea cages as well as some fish from the other eight cages. It says surveillance of fish health will increase.

Joel Richardson, vice-president of public relations for the company, says loss of animals due to weather is an “unfortunate part” of the business.

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The aquaculture sector, particularly open-net pen fish farming, came under scrutiny in the province last year when an estimated 2.6 million salmon died at a Northern Harvest Sea Farms cage site.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2020.

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