A North Island company was fined in Port Hardy court after it pleaded guilty to a 2009 infraction.
Marine Harvest Canada (MHC) was ordered Jan. 18 to pay a $5,000 penalty for failing to properly return Pacific herring to the wild during an an incident that occurred in October 2009.
In a release, MHC said it takes full responsibility for the infraction.
“The charge — failure to return incidentally captured Pacific herring to the place where they were taken — stems from an occurrence in late 2009 when the company was transporting its fish,” stated the release.
“Although incidental catch of wild fish is rare at B.C. salmon farms, Marine Harvest Canada takes this issue seriously and has made modifications to equipment to minimize further interceptions.”
The company said fish separators are now installed on its grading vessels.
“To make sure we can effectively separate and immediately return all non aquaculture fish back to the same waters alive,” said John Olney, captain of MHC’s Orca Chief.
Added Vincent Erenst, MHC’s managing director: “We certainly did not intend to harm any fish during the transport of our fish, and have made significant changes to our operations and practices to prevent this type of incident from occurring again. “We accept our responsibility in this matter.”
The $5,000 fine was directed to an unnamed conservation organization on Vancouver Island.