Ecojustice lawyers — representing David Suzuki Foundation, Georgia Strait Alliance, Living Oceans Society, Watershed Watch, and independent biologist Alexandra Morton — are appearing before the Federal Court to support a decision by the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to phase out salmon farms in B.C.’s Discovery Islands by 2022.
In December 2020, Minister Bernadette Jordan announced that all fish farms in the Discovery Islands would be phased out by June 2022, when their renewed 18-month licences expire, and no new fish would be transferred into the farms in the meantime. The Minister said the decision resulted from consultations with the Homalco, Tla’amin, Klahoose, K’ómoks, Kwaikah, We Wai Kai and Wei Wai Kum Nations, who expressed concern about the impact of fish farms on wild salmon stocks.
In January 2021, four fish farm companies operating in the area filed a lawsuit challenging the Minister’s decision. In March, the Federal Court granted an injunction to two companies, Mowi and a numbered company, allowing them to apply to transfer fish into three open-net fish farms in the Discovery Islands despite the Minister’s announcement that there would be no more transfers in the area.
In June, Ecojustice lawyers argued in court again that another company should not be granted an injunction. This time, the Federal Court denied Cermaq’s request to transfer 1.5 million Atlantic salmon into open-net pens in the Discovery Islands, a major win for the depleted salmon stocks that migrate through the region.
In October 2021, we will intervene on behalf of our clients to support Minister Jordan’s decision in the main lawsuit on this matter, arguing that this decision is supported by a precautionary approach to the management and protection of wild salmon.