Fish farms in Tofino say algae killing off large amounts of salmon

Algae killing off salmon

Cermaq Canada, who owns three fish farms in Tofino, is saying that there have been a large number of farm-salmon deaths being caused by a harmful algae bloom.

CTV Vancouver Island reports that the farms are claiming the bloom could be traced back to the rising ocean temperatures in the area. The three farms are are set up in the Herbert Inlet, which is on the west side of Vancouver Island.

Cermaq says the algae is aggressive in nature, and is native to the area.

"We are seeing two particular types of algae in these regions, chaetoceros concavicornis and chaetoceros convolutes, which are both native to the Pacific Ocean," said David Kiemele, managing director for Cermaq Canada in a news release on Friday. "These particular algae have rigid 'spines' that are harmful to fish when they come in contact with gills."

The company says the current environment conditions are the perfect conditions for this algae to grow and spread. Cermaq reports that blooms are often found in waters with low dissolved oxygen and warm water ocean temperatures, which are happening in the areas where their farms are located.

The fish farm company has been rolling out countermeasures to fix the problem, and they are already starting to work.

Some of the measures are holding out food for the salmon so they swim below the algae to feed, minimizing activity to reduce stress on the fish and pumps that will push water from deeper parts of the ocean into the farm to disperse the algae growth.

- With files from CTV Vancouver Island

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