Ecojustice lawyers 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 raised concerns regarding the impacts of fish farms on wild salmon stocks.
In January 2021, four fish farm companies operating in the area launched a lawsuit challenging the Minister’s decision. In March, the Federal Court granted an injunction to two companies, Mowi and a numbered company, which allows 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.
Ecojustice lawyers — representing the David Suzuki Foundation, Georgia Strait Alliance, Living Oceans Society, Watershed Watch, and independent biologist Alexandra Morton — argued in court against granting the injunction to the fish companies. In the coming months, we will appear on behalf of these same clients as interveners supporting Minister Jordan’s decision in the main lawsuit on this matter by arguing that this decision is supported by a precautionary approach towards the management and protection of wild salmon.