Mowi has applied to the court to be allowed to transfer fish into two of their Discovery Islands pens to let the salmon grow to marketable size. (Photo supplied)

Mowi has applied to the court to be allowed to transfer fish into two of their Discovery Islands pens to let the salmon grow to marketable size. (Photo supplied)

Fish farmers in court today arguing for Discovery Islands injunction

DFO, conservationists will argue tomorrow against putting more fish in the pens slated for closure

Stakeholders are in court today arguing about Mowi Canada West’s request to be allowed to transfer fish into the Discovery Island fish farms’ open-net pens between now and when their permits expire in June 2022.

Mowi applied for an injunction March 9 that would allow them to stock two of their farms, Phillips Arm and Hardwicke, allowing the farmed Atlantic salmon to grow to marketable size. They argue that without being able to transfer the juvenile fish into these farms, the fish will have no other pens to go to and will have to be destroyed.

An independent fish farm registered as 622335 B.C. Ltd., owned by Saltstream Engineering is a joint applicant with Mowi. It operates the Doctor Bay Farm and adjacent hatchery.

Fisheries and Oceans Minister Bernadette Jordan announced on Dec. 17, 2020 that all fish farms from the Discovery Islands had to be out by June 2022, giving operators 18 months to manage the transition. In that time, no new fish of any size were to be introduced. This messes up their normal practice of moving salmon to new pens as they reach different life stages, Mowi and Saltstream say.

Mowi and Saltstream are presenting their case today, and DFO will present tomorrow. An environmental coalition given intervener status will have about 30 minutes in the afternoon to present their argument.

The coalition made up of the David Suzuki Foundation, Georgia Strait Alliance, Living Oceans Society, Watershed Watch, and independent biologist Alexandra Morton, are being represented by Ecojustice lawyers.

They argue that farmed fish are a threat to wild salmon, and should not be allowed to be transferred into the farms.

The 2022 cohort of sockeye salmon is predicted to be particularly small, so the coalition is arguing that having extra farmed fish in the Discovery Islands for that spring outmigration is too risky due to alleged impact fish farms have on wild salmon.

Salmon farmers have long argued that their farms do not pose risk to wild salmon, and point to improvements in farming practices since the industry started in B.C. in the 1970s.

Five nations — Homalco, Tla’amin, We Wai Kai, Wei Wai Kum and Kwiakah First Nations — whose traditional territory include the Discovery Islands were included in consultations with Jordan in the fall, but were denied permission by the court to be interveners on this injunction application.

No reason for that denial has been released yet.

That omisson is shocking, said Ecojustice lawyer Margot Venton, given that it was First Nations interests that led to Jordan’s decision in the first place. She hopes the judge will share reasoning on the decision soon.

Mowi has previously called Jordan’s “devastating” to its business, saying it will result in 168 layoffs and has put them in a bind with nowhere to transition its currently growing fish. Mowi, Cermaq, Grieg and Saltstream have also applied separately for a judicial review seeking to overturn Jordan’s decision entirely.

RELATED: B.C.’s major salmon farms seek court intervention in Discovery Islands ban

RELATED: Discovery Islands salmon farms on their way out

Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: zoe.ducklow@blackpress.ca


CourtFish Farms

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dreamfish are hung on the fence at Annunication School in Prince Rupert on April 17 as part of the Stream of Dream eco-education program teaching about local watersheds and salmon habitats. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Stream of Dreams fish swim the fence at Prince Rupert School

Students at Annunciation school learned about watershed protection and salmon habitat

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

Registered Nurse, Teresa Friesen immunizes Dunrovin resident, Richard Brophy. Resident’s at the home were the first in Quesnel to receive COVID-19 vaccines. (Submitted Photo)
COLUMN: Vaccine floodgates should be opened

This editor’s column first appeared in the April 14 edition of the Quesnel Cariboo Observer

BC CDC mapping for the week ending April 4, shows a sharp decrease in COVID-19 cases to 27 in Prince Rupert down 45 from the week prior. (Image: BCCDC)
Sharp decline in Prince Rupert COVID-19 cases

Prince Rupert lab-confirmed cases are down 62.5 per cent in one week

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

Ocean Legacy Foundation members conduct a shoreline pollution cleanup in Vancouver. (OLP)
It’s time to end ‘suffocating’ plastic pollution along B.C. shorelines, advocates urge

This Earth Day, Ocean Legacy Foundation is launching a free educational platform to educate the public about plastic pollution

A teacher-librarian in Nanaimo was fired in 2019 for checking out an age-inappropriate graphic novel to a student. The discipline agreement was published Wednesday, April 21. (News Bulletin file photo)
B.C. teacher-librarian fired for checking out too-graphic graphic novel to student

Teacher had been previously disciplined and suspended on two occasions

Former University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. university rowing coach ‘deeply sorry’ after complaints

Barney Williams says he’s been committed to ensuring no other member of the roster had a similar experience

Aria Pendak Jefferson cuddles ChiChi, the family cat that ran away two years ago in Ucluelet. The feline was missing until Courtney Johnson and Barry Edge discovered her in the parking lot of the Canadian Princess earlier this month. Aria and her parents were reunited with ChiChi in a parking lot in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
B.C. girl’s wish granted as her cat came back, two years later

Courtenay family reunited with cat that went missing in Ucluelet in 2019

(Bandstra Transportation photo)
Smithers family-owned business institution sold to publicly-traded company

Bandstra Transportation and Babine Trucking acquired by Mullen Group

FILE – The Instagram app is shown on an iPhone in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Judge acquits B.C. teen boy ‘set up’ on sex assault charge based on Instagram messages

The girl and her friends did not have ‘good intentions’ towards the accused, judge says

Kai Palkeinen recently helped a car stuck on the riverbed near the Big Eddy Bridge. While the car could not be saved, some of the driver’s belongings were. It’s common for vehicles to get stuck in the area due to significantly changing river levels from Revelstoke Dam. (Photo by Kai Palkeinen)
“I just sank a car’: Revelstoke resident wants Columbia River better protected

Although it’s not permitted, the riverbed near the city is popular for off roading

Most Read