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

A woman crosses 176th Street in Cloverdale April 12, 2021. 176th will not host Cloverdale Market Days this year as the popular street fest is just the latest casualty in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Cloverdale Market Days cancelled again

Organizer says popular street fest will return in 2022

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions against new model; BCSS and its board in favour

Vintage scrapbooks gave way to Instagram and Facebook. (Photo: Ursula Maxwell-Lewis)
COLUMN: Prince Philip just got on with it—to our surprise

Ursula Maxwell-Lewis reflects on the passing Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Surrey Vaisakhi parade crowd in Newton, pre-pandemic. (Photo: Crystal Scuor)
Surrey Mounties urge Vaisakhi, Kissan celebrants to heed public health orders

Report violations to the City of Surrey Bylaw call centre at 604-591-4370 or the Surrey RCMP non-emergency line at 604-599-0502

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

The plane blasted through an airport fence and down a hill, before stopping before a cement barrier on Highway 5A, right in front of a school bus. Photo submitted.
Student pilot crashes plane onto Highway 5A almost hitting school bus

Aircraft hit pavement right in front of school bus

Eight-year-old Piper and her family were raising money to help Guinevere, the bearded dragon, get a gynecological surgery. Sadly, the reptile didn’t survive the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Lizard fails to survive surgery, GoFundMe dollars help Langley family offset medical bills

Guinevere, a pet bearded dragon, underwent an ovariectomy on Tuesday

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A driver stopped by Saanich police following a road rage incident on April 15 was found to be impaired, in violation of a license restriction and in a damaged vehicle. They received a 90-day driving prohibition and a 30-day vehicle impound. (Saanich Police Traffic Safety Unit/Twitter)
Road rager fails breathalyzer on busy B.C. highway in vehicle he shouldn’t be driving

Saanich police say man was operating vehicle without required ignition lock

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Premier John Horgan booked to get AstraZeneca shot Friday

‘Let’s show all British Columbians that the best vaccine is the one that’s available to you now,’ he said

Doses of the Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine in a freezer trailer, to be transported to Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Pfizer to increase vaccine deliveries in Canada as Moderna supply slashed

Moderna plans to ship 650,000 doses of its vaccine to Canada by the end of the month, instead of the expected 1.2 million

Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks about the province’s COVID-19 vaccine plans during a news conference at the legislature in Victoria. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
P.1 variant likely highest in B.C. due to more testing for it: Dr. Henry

Overall, just under 60% of new daily cases in the province involve variants

The father of Aaliyah Rosa planted a tree and laid a plaque in her memory in 2018. (Langley Advance Times files)
Final witness will extend Langley child murder trial into May or June

Lengthy trial began last autumn with COVID and other factors forcing it to take longer than expected

Most Read