Salmon farmer Cermaq’s trial of its semi-closed containment system (SCCS) has finished early due to a technical problem that resulted in fish mortalities.

The SCCS was in the third stage of a four-stage research and development trial to test new salmon farming technology at its Millar site in Clayoquot Sound in Canada.

"We have acquired important technical and operational knowledge and will use this to improve the performance of the SCCS in Canadian waters,” David Kiemele, managing director at Cermaq Canada, said. Photo: Cermaq

The remaining healthy fish in the trial will be harvested early to avoid further complications. The Millar Site also has traditional pen systems, and the fish in that system will be grown to standard harvest size, Cermaq Canada said Oct. 9.

“This was our first attempt to grow fish of varying sizes in a semi-closed environment and, unfortunately, due to water quality issues fish performance was affected and resulted in fish mortality,” said Cermaq’s director of fish health, Peter McKenzie.

This is the first trial of this type of technology in British Columbia.

Last year, Cermaq Canada Managing Director David Kiemele said the system "essentially eliminates the transfer of lice from wild salmon to our farmed populations."

The system uses a patented material to form a barrier around the pen, which was designed to limit interaction with wild salmon and provide additional benefits to the farmed fish.

The trial was scheduled to run until the summer of 2022.

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