Cermaq Canada says it is seeing fish deaths at three farms in its Tofino operating area because of harmful algae bloom in the region.
The affected farms are Binns Island, Bawden Point and Ross Pass in the area of Herbert Inlet.
Cermaq says it is seeing two types of algae – chaetoceros concavicornis and chaetoceros convolutes – which are both native to the Pacific Ocean.
The algae are described by officials have having rigid “spines” that are harmful to fish when they come into contact with gills.
“Blooms are often associated with low dissolved oxygen events and warm ocean water temperatures and weather changes – all of which we are, or have been experiencing,” Cermaq Canada Managing Director David Kiemele said in a statement.
Cermaq says the farms have taken measures to reduce the risk to fish, including minimizing activity on the farm to reduce stress, stop feeding fish to help keep them at lower depths below the algae and pumping water from deeper ocean depths to help dilute algae.
The company says fish and water conditions are improving and it has provided notice of the algae bloom and fish deaths to the Ahousaht First Nation.