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

Nanaimo city council voted unanimously Monday to pass a bylaw establishing the foundation for a new downtown business improvement association. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
City of Nanaimo adopts bylaw to create new downtown business improvement association

Chamber of commerce says next steps will be a board of directors and five-year strategic plan

Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district teachers’ union, and its counterparts from Mount Arrowsmith district, seek stricter COVID-19 rules. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith teachers’ union asks health authority for stricter COVID-19 measures

Teachers ask for vaccine, more online learning, mask mandate for primary students

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

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
Island Health seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

VIHA says Chakalaka Bar and Grill also violating water and sewer regulations with RV hook-ups

Nanaimo Fire Rescue investigator Mark Jonah probes the scene of a blaze that destroyed two apartments on Sunday, April 18. The cause of the blaze has not been determined. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
UPDATE: RCMP say Wakesiah Avenue fire was arson, suspect has been arrested

35-year-old man arrested for allegedly starting fire lived in the complex

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

The City of Nanaimo will further investigate an initiative to set up two 12-cabin sites to create transitional emergency housing for people experiencing homelessness. (Black Press file photo)
City of Nanaimo will ask for expressions of interest to operate tiny cabin sites

Staff expresses concern about workload, councillor says sheltering people must take priority

Ambulance paramedic in full protective gear works outside Lion’s Gate Hospital, March 23, 2020. Hospitals are seeing record numbers of COVID-19 patients more than a year into the pandemic. (The Canadian Press)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate declines, 849 cases Tuesday

Up to 456 people now in hospital, 148 in intensive care

Christy Clark, who was premier from 2011 to 2017, is the first of several present and past politicians to appear this month before the Cullen Commission, which is investigating the causes and impact of B.C.’s money-laundering problem over the past decade. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
Christy Clark says she first learned of money-laundering spike in 2015

The former B.C. premier testified Tuesday she was concerned the problem was ‘apparently at an all-time high’

Police executed a search warrant at the Devils Army Clubhouse on Petersen road in Campbell River on August 10, 2017.
Murder trial into 2016 Campbell River killing underway in Victoria

Ricky Alexander is charged with the first-degree murder of John Dillon Brown

Most Read