Newfoundland “salmon ferry” back after storm

Salmon Business
Wait over: the Port aux Basque ferry terminal waiting room

Most of Newfoundland is dealing with high winds in the aftermath of persistent blizzard that has blasted most of Maritime Canada for three days, creating transit delays as it ripped away roofing and whited out highways.

On Friday afternoon, Newfoundland capital, St. John’s, is still expecting to see winds of between 25 and 45 kilometers an hour. However, high seas had earlier halted the vital Marine Atlantic ferry service to Nova Scotia from Channel-Port aux Basques, at the western end of a southern, salmon-farming coast that’s dense with salmon farms along the Connaigre Peninsula.

“With a storm warning in effect, we’ve been experiencing extremely high winds in Port aux Basques, with up to 8-metre seas this afternoon,” Marine Atlantic Tweeted on Tuesday. By Thursday night, the company — which charges between CAD 674 and CAD 775 per heavy transport between regular overnight and morning crossings — was reporting delays of 24 hours but regular scheduling for all of Friday.

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Despite winds which on Wednesday reached 110 km/h, power outages were not reported anywhere in the remote Canadian province that produces around 30,000 tonnes of salmon and poised for massive aquaculture growth, along with the rest of Maritime Canada.

Extreme cold, however, has gripped much of Ontario, Quebec and the Eastern salmon-farming areas, and parts of Newfoundland saw temperatures drop to -20 degrees Celsius, raising fears for shallow-water salmon farmers reminded of the “super chill” that killed hundreds of salmon in 2014.

Port aux Basques is a critical hub for salmon transports. Apart from its ferry service, it is the final hopping off point for wheeled transport hoping to get rolling on the mainland Trans-Canada Highway to markets in Ontario and the U.S.

Calmer seas: The ferry MV Leif Ericson leaves Port Aux Basques for North Sydney Nova Scotia