An MPI report into unusually high death rates of salmon at one of NZ King Salmon’s Marlborough Sound’s farms has found the company wanting and make a mockery of our bio-security laws.
The company has been censured for lax biosecurity controls after two previously unknown bacteria were found in its fish and strict controls
The deaths were found to be due to the two bacteria and the MPI placed strict biosecurity controls on King Salmon.
Following unusually high mortality events on New Zealand King Salmon (NZKS) farms in February 2015, NZKS supplied salmon samples to determine whether an infectious agent could have been causing the mortalities. From samples provided to AHL, two new-to-New Zealand detections were confirmed in king salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha): a New Zealand Rickettsia-like organism (NZ-RLO1) and Tenacibaculum maritimum. This was the first time the presence of these two bacterial agents had been confirmed in New Zealand. Of the two bacteria, the NZ-RLO is of particular interest because it is listed as an unwanted organism under the Biosecurity Act 1993.
However, chief executive Grant Rosewarne said that the bacteria occurred naturally in the environment and there was no sign its fish were a carrier of disease but admitted that the company can always do things better.
This shows the amazing disdain Rosewarne appears to have for this countries bio-security protection.
Mr Rosewarne said the main issue was its farms did not have enough space to ensure its salmon were healthy all the time.
Making excuses for the lack of appropriate farming conditions is what concerns the public of the country. It is the companies and councils responsibility to ensure that our inshore waters are correctly protected with regulations, and audits. If this company is not adhering to this and is covering up issues then it should be closed down. Stricter controls need to be put in place to ensure that no corporate organisation attempts to hoodwink anyone.
Rosewarne admits that it is really important that salmon are farmed in a good location. “They need depth, they need temperature, they need a really good feed and they need as low a stress as possible."
He said there was not a single negative consequence anyone could point to as a result of those "relatively minor" issues.
Whilst Rosewarne might accept biosecurity breaches and unknown bacteria found in salmon as minor issues it is clearly not acceptable.
Rosewarne further admits "The main issue is, do we have enough space for top world-class biosecurity, and the answer ... is no."
This latest report showed the company ignored MPI's controls and continued to turn possibly infected fish into berley for sale in the North Island.
The MPI sent an urgent notice to the company to stop distribution of the berley.
MPI's investigation found several breaches of its biosecurity management plan, and that the company failed to follow best practice for preventing the spread of disease.
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