New Brunswick

Hundreds of dead shellfish found on shores of Shediac-area beach

Dead shellfish were noticed by residents strolling the shores of Petit-Cap Beach in the community of Beaubassin East on the weekend.

New Brunswick Environment Department says it's doing an assessment

Hundreds of dead shellfish were noticed by residents on the shores of Petit-Cap Beach on the weekend. The cause is still unknown. (Radio-Canada)

The residents of Beaubassin East noticed a strange sight on the shores of Petit-Cap Beach on the weekend – long stretches of dead shellfish along the southeastern New Brunswick coast.

Resident Jean-Pascal Lavoie was walking with his family on the beach, about 35 kilometres east of Shediac, on Sunday morning when he came across the dead shellfish.

Taken aback, he recorded a video of the strange sight. 

"We walked roughly 150 metres and within that section of the beach, we saw over 100 ...150 remains of crabs and other crustaceans all over the shoreline," Lavoie said in an interview with Radio-Canada. 

Lavoie said he was alarmed, given that he frequently walks along the beach, and made sure his children and dog didn't enter the water that day. 

"We knew that there were some industrial fires at the nearby fish plant a few days prior and we thought it may be some coincidence there," he said.

Two smokehouses were destroyed in a fire on Aug. 21 in Beaubassin-East, and authorities are looking into the cause.

The fire started at one of the smokehouses at Botsford Fisheries in Petit-Cap 

Jean-Pascal Lavoie is a Beaubassin East resident and was walking on the shores of Petit Cap Beach with his family on Sunday and saw hundreds of dead shellfish on the coast. (Radio-Canada)

On Wednesday, N.B. Power spokesperson Marc Belliveau said three of the utility's transformers filled with mineral and vegetable oil were attached to the smokehouse. All three transformers and their contents were burned in the fire.

But Belliveau said he did not believe the liquid from the transformers posed any environmental threat and would not have spilled into the water.

According to a field analysis, he said, the fire was so intense that all the oil burned on the spot. 

"We checked the soil around the building, and nothing indicates that the oil would have moved," Belliveau said.

Radio-Canada and CBC News reached out to New Brunswick's Environment Department about the mass shellfish mortalities, but the department was unable to provide a cause, citing an ongoing environmental assessment.

The department noted it is not the lead agency investigating this event, but said it is working with provincial and federal departments, N.B. Power, the RCMP and the owner of the smokehouses "to address site cleanup and address any potential offsite impacts." 

"A final report will be provided to [the Environment Department] from the consulting firm once complete," department communications officer Alysha Elliott said in an emailed statement.


  • A previous version of this article said N.B. Power spokesperson Marc Belliveau said the smokehouse fires were not responsible for the deaths. In fact, Belliveau said he did not believe the liquid from N.B. Power's transformers posed an environmental threat.
    Aug 27, 2021 10:33 AM AT

With files from Maya Chebl and Jérémie Tessier-Vigneault/Radio-Canada


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