Leone Bliss (far left) of the Marine Harvest Mutts is taking part in the SPCA fundraiser “Paws for a Cause” on Sept. 13. She’s joined by (from left) Lorraine Noel of the SPCA, fellow walker Paige Felker and Andy Peterson of Watertech Contracting who contributed $500 to Bliss’ pledge sheet. Peterson is challenging other aquaculture suppliers to match or surpass his donation.
August 28, 2009
August 26, 2009
Published: August 26, 2009 5:00 AM
The missing million in the Bulkley are not due to fish farms.
Ian Roberts with Marine Harvest Canada said the idea that sea lice from fish farms could result in one million missing fish in the Bulkley River is logistically impossible, as the sockeye salmon that travel our rivers come down from Alaska, nowhere near the nearest fish farm, which is by Swindle Island.
“Your river systems will never come into contact with fish farms,” Roberts said.
Stan Proboszcz, a fish biologist with the Watershed Watch Salmon Society, said this was correct, that when he made reference to sea lice being a potential cause for the missing sockeye he was only referring to the Fraser River, and not the Skeena.
Roberts added that while some of the Fraser River sockeye do come into contact with fish farms, attributing the 90 per cent decrease in the expected run to sea lice contracted by the fish is unlikely.
“We are not adding to the natural occurring sea lice,” Roberts said.
The fish farms are heavily monitored, especially around April and March when the salmon begin their journey upstream. Drugs and other preventative measures are taken to minimize the sea lice population. Sockeye salmon, in particular, are also quite large, so not overly susceptible to death by sea lice. There are also naturally occurring sea lice from herring and halibut.
“The question is, are we adding to this [the sea lice]?” said Roberts.
August 13, 2009
Salmon aquaculture is in a constant state of innovation but for Lex Gagne, “change keeps it fresh.”
As Logistics Manager, one of Lex’s responsibilities is to ensure that “the value-added (processing) gets done” and that the right fish gets to its customer on time.
Lex prepares a weekly processing schedule to guide this process. She enjoys dealing with two of Marine Harvest’s largest customers, Costco and Westfair, also known as Super Store.
Lex came to our industry in the mid 1980s, when she was hired for a part-time office position at Seafarm Canada, the predecessor to Stolt Sea Farm. She ventured into the world of production when she accompanied the first loads of grilse to Great Northern Packing in Vancouver and has been in processing and distribution ever since.
She remembers estimating what the orders would be and not only handwriting labels when they processed at Walcan but putting the labels onto the boxes herself.
“The industry was very much hands on,” commented Lex.
Born in Victoria, Lex is mom to Craig, who works at Kal Tire, and Jolene, who works in the health care industry and is currently touring Europe, Africa and Asia. Lex and partner Carl have called the Oyster River area home for the past 20 plus years. She enjoys her grandkids, all of whom are close and keep her running when they visit. “They’re into everything – there’s no fear,” said Lex with a laugh. As various dogs and their owners stroll by during our interview, Lex greets them all. It’s easy to see that Lex’s own dog, Brandy (“named after a good drink”), has a special place in her heart.
August 10, 2009
Marine Harvest has a new piece of equipment as part of its broodstock program that is paying early dividends.
It’s an ultrasound monitor called an Easi-Scan, which is manufactured in the United Kingdom by BCF, and is leading to solid efficiencies both in terms of work and costs. The unit has been used for many years “in agriculture, for cattle, sheep, and horses,” said Broodstock Program Manager, Robin Muzzerall, adding that “it allows us to look inside the fish at the developing gonads and ovaries.” Robin said, “I can see how it’s going to be a good tool” and will help Marine Harvest reach its goal of “spawning the best fish,” both in terms of timing and quality.
The advantages to the Easi-Scan are many, not the least of which is being able to clearly differentiate between female and male fish. This is key because it means fish can be sexed identified as male or female) correctly at a much earlier stage than in the past.
Without the Easi-Scan, fish that were thought to have been female were often found to be males. More females than males are required so when males are clearly identified, many become production fish and can be sent to harvest. The equipment consists of a portable unit that is relatively water resistant and which fits into a medium sized back pack. Goggles, attached to a head band, and a wand that is scanned across the fish complete the package. It runs on rechargeable batteries, making it ideal for use at both salt water sites and hatcheries.
With this equipment, we’re able to “only bring in (to the broodstock program) sure things,” said Robin. With the ultrasound, technicians can also “see if there’s a problem with egg quality or other issues that would make it difficult to use the female fish as broodstock.” The Easi-Scan is also a powerful predictor of which females are likely to spawn first, leading to an economizing of fresh water use since only those fish that will spawn are brought to fresh water.
Staff are currently fine-tuning their skill in using the equipment and learning how to interpret its data. Effective use of the ultrasound is almost more of an art than just a skill, commented Robin. “We are still learning what we can do with this equipment,” she said, commenting that this is the first year it’s been in wide-spread use in BC.
A future application for the ultrasound would be to help us in identifying grilse, a process that would be less disruptive to the fish than what is currently used.
By Gina Forsyth
August 7, 2009
Over $23,000 was raised for the Campbell River Head Injury Society during the 2nd Annual Handyman Challenge. This unique fundraiser has teams of volunteers build garden sheds that are then auctioned off to successful bidders. All materials are donated for each shed. The “Quack Shack” was sponsored by Marine Harvest Canada. As you can see in the photo, the Campbell River Daybreak Rotary construction team called “Close Enough Construction” were really on their game – the shed is an absolute beauty.