VANCOUVER, B.C. (CN) – The Canadian government is unconstitutionally passing the buck on fisheries and aquaculture regulations to the British Columbia government, whose policies have failed to protect vulnerable wild salmon stocks, environmentalists and fishermen claim in B.C. Supreme Court.
Led by marine biologist Alexandra Morton, a longtime critic of fish farming in the Broughton Archipelago, the petitioners claim that sections of the Fisheries Act and Farm Practices Protection Act exceed the authority of the B.C. government. The petitioners want pending fish farm license applications and expansion plans halted.
Fish farming, the petition states, threatens wild salmon stocks by allowing non-native Atlantic salmon to escape, which increases “the presence and risk associated with parasites and disease, in particular, a dramatic increase in the prevalence of sea lice in the marine environment.”
The farms also produce “significant amounts of biological and chemical (and in some cases toxic) waste,” the complaint states.
The petitioners include the Pacific Coast Wild Salmon Society, the Wilderness Tourism Association, the Southern Area Gillnetters Association and the Fishing Vessel Owners Association of British Columbia. They are represented by Gregory McDade and Lisa Glowacki with Ratcliff & Co.
Respondents include the Minister of Agriculture and Lands, the Attorney General of British Columbia and Marine Harvest Canada.