Fish die-off reported

FRENCHBORO — Cooke Aquaculture USA had a fish die-off at its salmon farm sites off Black Island, according to the company and the Maine Department of Marine Resources.

Last Friday morning, a spokesman for Cooke said the deaths were a result of uncommonly low oxygen levels in the fish cages.

“The fish are being disposed of per the company’s standard operating procedures and farm management plan,” said Joel Richardson.

The Department of Marine Resources confirmed the die-off and said it was monitoring the situation. Cooke was working with a seiner out of Portland to remove the dead fish for composting, an agency spokesman wrote in an email.

Cooke self-reported the mass mortality event and the state Department of Environmental Protection has opened an enforcement case.

The company expected to be back to normal by the weekend following the regular harvest schedule.

“All livestock farmers encounter and manage mortalities and the company is taking all the responsible steps and has provided notification to the Department of Marine Resources, Department of Environmental Protection, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, USDA and NOAA,” Richardson said.

Ethan Genter

Ethan Genter

Former reporter for the Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander, Ethan covered maritime news and the town of Bar Harbor.
Ethan Genter

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