Injunction to restock two Discovery Island fish farms fails in federal court – Coast Mountain News



The federal court rejected an injunction filed by Cermaq Canada to complete a final transfer of Atlantic salmon to its Brent Island and Venture Point salmon farms.

In a statement released on July 6, Cermaq Canada said it was disappointed with the decision and disheartened by the discovery made during the injunction process that Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan decided to ignore the support of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans on demand transfer.

“As an organization, we are perplexed by the decision of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Bernadette Jordan, because the salmon farm itself supports so many objectives both of itself and of the Prime Minister Trudeau for the country – from supporting wild salmon to building a strong blue economy, creating food security, fostering reconciliation and helping Canada meet its carbon goals. We know that farmed salmon can help support all of these efforts, ”said Cermaq Canada CEO David Kiemele. “We are also surprised that the Minister has ignored advice from her ministry in favor of what we can only assume to be a political agenda. His recent decision to revoke 60 percent of commercial fishing licenses in British Columbia – again blinds commercial fishermen in their own words – shows his lack of understanding of rural coastal communities, First Nations rights and the reconciliation process. , as well as the role that all seafood needs. play to support a growing world population.

Documents obtained through the legal process show that DFO staff reviewed Cermaq’s application for two final introduction and transfer licenses and, based on existing criteria and science, research and development. opinion of DFO, recommended that Minister Jordan approve the applications. Minister Jordan ignored this recommendation.

“Initially, we thought the Liberal Government of Canada was a government that was built on the principles of inclusiveness and was led by a belief and confidence in Canadian-led research and science, as well as a fundamental support for more truth and reconciliation in Canada. Where we are today, it appears that the decisions coming out of Ottawa and Nova Scotia do not actually support these positions, but rather are aimed at securing urban Liberal votes. Once again, a hard-working industry is caught off guard and deemed unimportant in the face of the next election, ”Kiemele said. “Minister Jordan’s inability to provide an adequate statement as to why she refused our requests, to us, points to motives outside of science and social license and likely towards securing urban votes as we we are heading for an early election at the end of the summer. “

These documents are available because they are part of the official court record, Cermaq says. The press release included an internal document from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), in which senior DFO officials recommended that Minister Jordan approve the introduction and transfer license and approve the requested extension.

The company says the move will have long-term social and financial implications for employees, North Vancouver Island’s small rural economy, and dozens of local and independent suppliers, contractors, businesses and service providers.

Cermaq Canada worked with the Wei Wai Kum Nation – on whose territory the two farms are located. In April, the Wei Wai Kum Council voted unanimously in favor of an agreement between the Nation and the Cermaq. The agreement would have enabled the sharing of wild salmon conservation initiatives, an economic transition, capacity building, the creation of a Guardian program (national monitoring of Cermaq’s operations in its territory) and knowledge sharing. Cermaq says he will continue to work with the Wei Wai Kum Nation as part of a reconciliation process.

RELATED: Cermaq files legal action against DFO to challenge license denials

Environmental organizations, for their part, welcomed the court’s decision.

Responding to the July 2 decision, Georgia Strait Alliance Executive Director Christianne Wilhelmson said: Stewards of these lands and waters since time immemorial.

“Minister Jordan’s decision to immediately eliminate fish farms from the Discovery Islands was based on consultation with First Nations in the region, concerned about the impacts of open net farming on their traditional territories, as well as on science. current status and status of wild Pacific salmon stocks. .

“The Minister’s decision has now been repeatedly upheld in federal court. It is time for the aquaculture industry to take seriously the transition from fish farms from open net pens to closed containment facilities on land, which do not use marine ecosystems to remove litter and parasites or avoid reconciliation with the First Nations, but rather will revive the local salmon economy.

In March this year, the Georgia Strait Alliance was part of a group of environmental organizations and opponents of fish farms, Alexandra Morton, represented by Ecojustice, intervened in the judicial review, arguing that aquaculture companies should not be authorized to transfer farmed fish to Discovery Islands. fish farms, all of which are expected to close by June 2022.

Over the next few months, Ecojustice and its clients will again step in to support Minister Jordan’s order to phase out all Discovery Islands fish farms by June 2022, which Cermaq and other fisheries are challenging as part of it. ‘a separate judicial review.

Margot Venton, Lawyer and Nature Program Director at Ecojustice, said: “Ecojustice clients applaud Federal Court decision to dismiss Cermaq’s injunction request and support Minister Jordan’s phase-out order . Fish companies may say that phase-out doesn’t give them enough time to plan for the future, but wild salmon can’t wait.

RELATED: Discovery Island fish farms not allowed to restock

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