Fish farm restocking dispute goes to Federal Court next week in Vancouver - InfoNews

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Fish farm restocking dispute goes to Federal Court next week in Vancouver

March 14, 2018 - 3:03 PM

VICTORIA - A First Nation asking the Federal Court to prevent the restocking of an open-net salmon farm in its traditional territories off northern Vancouver Island will be in court for two days of hearings next week.

The Namgis First Nation of Alert Bay, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and fish farm operator Marine Harvest Canada of Campbell River will be at the hearings Tuesday and Wednesday in Vancouver.

The Namgis are seeking a judicial review of a Fisheries and Oceans Canada policy that does not require testing for the blood virus piscine reovirus before the scheduled transfer of Atlantic smolts to Marine Harvest's open-net salmon farm at Swanson Island.

The Namgis also want an injunction preventing the fisheries minister from issuing a licence permitting the transfer of the smolts to the Swanson Island operation.

Fisheries and Oceans says it will not comment on a matter that is before the courts.

Vincent Erenst, managing director of Marine Harvest, says the company will oppose the court challenge and defend the legality of government regulations for issuing fish transfer licences.

He says the company has been cautious and did test smolts for the virus and found none were infected. The virus is ubiquitous and occurs naturally in many ocean fish, he says.

Erenst says the transfer licence for the salmon going to the farm required that they have a health screening by third-party laboratories and they were confirmed to be free of disease.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2018
The Canadian Press

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