Emergency crews responding to diesel spill near northern Vancouver Island
Emergency crews are responding to a diesel spill at a fish farm near the northern tip of Vancouver Island.
Officials say at least 1,500 litres of diesel overflowed from the Burdwood Fish Farm in Echo Bay, B.C., northeast of Port McNeill.
Farm crews reported the smell of diesel to Emergency Management B.C. just before 5 a.m. PT, according to an official report.
The federal fisheries department says the spill was caused by a diesel pump that was left on overnight.
Just after 2 p.m., Courtney Bransfield, emergency program co-ordinator for the Mount Waddington Regional District, said the spill was “contained to the farm’s fish pens” and that absorbents to soak up the spill were in place.
However, Chief Bob Chamberlin — who lives on nearby Gilford Island — said the diesel spread “well beyond” the fish farm.
He said his First Nation is concerned about possible damage to nearby clam beds.
“The Burdwood area is a very sensitive area, which has the majority of clam beds that our people rely on,” he said. “Any impact to our traditional food sources is a critical hit to our people.”
Chamberlin said local boats from Kingcome Inlet and Alert Bay are en route to the spill site to assess the damage.
The Canadian Coast Guard, Ministry of Environment officials and a marine clean-up company are also responding, Bransfield said.
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