Canadian officials monitoring sea lion activity around Cermaq Canada farms

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada is monitoring sea lion activity around Cermaq Canada’s salmon farms, with staff remaining in “constant contact with farm operations.”

Cermaq farms in British Columbia have been plagued by sea lions plundering the farmed Atlantic salmon within the sites in recent months, after residents in the area first raised alarm bells about the presence of the animals back in April.

“DFO staff have been on a number of sites and remain in constant contact with farm operations to ensure accurate information and that deterrent efforts are being safely put in place,” the Canadian department stated. The agency added that there is “a strict requirement that no sea lions can be euthanized” and farms have a duty to ensure as little risk to marine mammals as possible.

“Attempts to deter the sea lions and to remove them from the net pens, with least harm to the animals, have been ongoing in consultation with DFO biologists,” the DFO claimed. “Cermaq’s Conditions of Licence do not allow acoustic deterrents below water. However, DFO does permit the use of deterrent noise, such as an air cannon, above water.”

The DFO stated that Cermaq is responsible for taking all necessary steps to free any sea lions that get trapped in their facilities, with the DFO investigating any reports of sea lions being harmed.

“DFO staff have witnessed reduced sea lion activity at these sites in recent weeks, the agency announced. “DFO continues to work with industry to develop effective strategies to deter sea lions, including the adoption of infrastructure that is resistant to predator attacks. This includes stronger predator netting, higher perimeter fencing and upgraded electric fencing,” the department outlined.


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