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

The Trail Smoke Eaters fell 6-1 to the Penticton Vees on Sunday, their third loss to the perennial BCHL powerhouse six games into the 20-game season. Photo: Stephen Piccolo
Penticton Vees dominant in win over Trail Smoke Eaters

Trail Smoke Eaters enjoy two day break until their fourth meeting with Penticton Vees on Wednesday

Kalesnikoff Lumber will be providing materials for a 21-storey apartment building in Vancouver. Rendering: Henriquez Partners Architects
Kalesnikoff supplying mass timber for several major projects

The West Kootenay lumber company will be making the products at South Slocan facility

This painting is a piece from Young Visions 2021, opening April 22 at the Kootenay Gallery. Photo: S. Painter
Showcase of artwork by Kootenay Columbia students opens April 22

Young Visions 2021 runs April 22 to May 29 in the Kootenay Gallery of Art, Castlegar

Selkirk College has received provincial funding to assist students. File photo
Selkirk College receives funding to assist students

Provincial funding is available to West Kootenay students

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 6, 2020. Top Tory leaders of past and present will speak with supporters today about what a conservative economic recovery from COVID-19 could look like. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
O’Toole to vote against Conservative MP’s private bill on ‘sex-selective abortion’

Erin O’Toole said he supports a woman’s right to choose and will personally vote against the private member’s bill

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Part of the massive mess left behind in a Spallumcheen rental home owned by Wes Burden, whose tenants bolted from the property in the middle of the night. Burden is now facing a hefty cleaning and repair bill as a result. (Photo submitted)
Tenants disappear in the night leaving Okanagan home trashed with junk, feces

Spallumcheen rental rooms filled with junk, human and animal feces; landlord scared to rent again

Parliament Hill is viewed below a Canada flag in Gatineau, Quebec, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians are feeling more grateful for what they have in 2020 as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased slightly in 2019: report

2019 report shows Canada emitted about one million tonnes more of these gases than the previous year

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to register people ages 40+ for COVID-19 vaccines in April

Appointments are currently being booked for people ages 66 and up

Interior Health improves access to mental health supports amid COVID-19 pandemic. (Stock)
Interior Health connects people to mental health resources amid COVID

310-MHSU line receives positive feedback in early months of rollout

Most Read