Less than a month after hiring a vice president for its land-based salmon operations, Nordic Aquafarms has fired him over a photo that surfaced of him with a lion that he shot.
Shawn Harriman was terminated just a week after the company announced his hiring as the first on-the-ground exec for the major fish farm operation. Harriman had already moved to Humboldt County, California for the job.
Nordic Commercial Director Marianne Naess announced Harriman’s firing after local newspaper Lost Coast Outpost asked the company for comment on the photo, which has surfaced on blogs and social media.
“We have just been made aware of unfortunate circumstances pertaining to Shawn Harriman, who was recently hired as SVP Projects for Nordic Aquafarms in California,” Naess said in a statement sent to IntraFish.
“We want our Humboldt County partners and the community to know that we take any concerns regarding our values or stewardship of natural resources very seriously and therefore we had no choice but to terminate our relationship with Shawn."
In the photo, Harriman is holding a rifle, kneeling over a lion that appears to be dead.
Naess told IntraFish that the company had done background research during the recruitment process but that the issue of lion hunting hadn't come up before last week.
"Over the last two weeks we have learned to know Shawn as a very competent and experienced project director and we think this situation is unfortunate both for Shawn and Nordic Aquafarms, but our company values will always prevail," said Naess.
The animal rights organization PETA has previously spoken out against Nordic’s forthcoming project, buying ads on local buses and releasing a statement criticizing the concept of farming fish.