COOKE CEO GLENN COOKE
A Cooke Aquaculture barge carrying fish feed sunk earlier this week off Brier Island in Digby County, according to reports from CBC.
The “small” barge was found submerged early Wednesday and, according to Cooke executives, divers have plugged the barge’s outlets to prevent liquids from leaking into the water.
In 2012, a Cooke barge sank nearby, but Cooke took days to make the required report to officials.
Digby County Warden Linda Gregory said she hope to contamination from oil or anything else woudl occur and that she was sure Cooke would be “good corporate citizens” about any cleanup required.
By Thursday evening, the vessel had been was drained and towed to shore.
New Brunswick-based Cooke Aquaculture has grown in recent years to a $2 billion multi-national corporation, with operations in salmon farming, feed production, hatcheries, processing and, most recently, wild fisheries. They operate in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Scotland, Chile and Spain.
Cooke salmon farms are regularly plagued with sea lice infesations and deadly infectious salmon anemia (ISA) outbreaks which result in the forced slaughter of millions of market-ready fish. Cooke CEO Glenn Cooke and other executives have been found guilty of federal felony chages for discharging poisonous insecticides in open waters in the Bay of Fundy, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of lobsters in the nearby fishery. The firm has recieved close to $50 million from the Canadian government in compensation for the slaughtered fish.
In 2012, after serious lobbying with the provincial and municipal governments,Cooke negotiated a $25 million loan package from the Nova Scotia government, based in part on a promise to build a processing plant in Shelburne and hatchery in Digby, providing what they claimed would 300-400 full-time, well-paying jobs. After accessing $18 million of the package, Cooke subsequently renegged on that promise. In 2014, premier Stephen McNeil that Cooke repay the$18 million if it does not comply with the terms of the loan and grant package. In 2013, the Auditor genral used the Cooke deal as an example of poor oversight of government loan funds.
Soon after receiving the $18 million loan package, Cooke invested heavily in fishing operations in Spain, Chile and Scotland.