Equipment failure at land-based salmon farm kills $3.7 million worth of fish

Editorial Staff

This loss has has left the company unable to supply its customers until smaller fish reach market size.

Nova Scotia land-based salmon farmer Sustainable Blue suffered a major equipment failure in November, leading to the death of 100,000 fish, valued at US$3.7 million.

The incident, which occurred on November 4, was due to a structural collapse in a carbon dioxide filter within the farm’s holding tanks, according to a report from Canadian broadcaster CBC.

The farm relies on a proprietary water filtration system that recycles water on-site. The malfunction occurred in the newest production building at the Centre Burlington facility in Hants County, near the Minas Basin.

Kirk Havercroft, the CEO of Sustainable Blue, acknowledged the severity of the incident, noting that it represents a significant interruption in production.

The malfunction affected 20 percent of the farm’s output, as the salmon involved were market-ready, weighing between four and eight kilograms each.

This loss has rendered the company unable to supply its customers until smaller fish reach market size, projected to be around seven months.

The malfunctioning equipment, a critical component of the farm’s filtration system, is designed to eliminate carbon dioxide released by fish in water. This CO2 stripper is unique to Sustainable Blue and is a key element in maintaining the farm’s annual production capacity of 1,000 metric tonnes.

Havercroft emphasized that the collapse was a construction failure rather than a technological issue. The affected tanks were part of a building completed in April 2022, which, until the incident, had performed exceptionally well, meeting operating design parameters.

“We think this is an isolated incident,” Havecroft said. “Our early indications are that it should be perfectly feasible to identify the cause of the incident.

The company expects to repair the damage and resume operations by early March. However, it remains uncertain what aspects of the loss the company’s insurance will cover.


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