Fish farm lawsuits continue as citizens sued for trespassing

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By Alexandra Morton

On September 23, 2016 Marine Harvest sued Alexandra Morton and John and Jane Doe and All other Persons Unknown for trespass, nuisance and damages.  On November 16, 2016, I joined three hereditary Dzawada’enuxw chiefs who filed a response to the lawsuit from Marine Harvest, the biggest salmon farming corporation in the world based in Norway.

Traditional leaders Farron Soukochoff, Willie Moon and Joe Willie deny any act of trespass or nuisance as they were within the lawful traditional territory of the Dzawada’enuxw Nation and do not consent to pay damages to Marine Harvest.

On August 23, 2016, chiefs and others of the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw First Nation and sister nations arrived at the Marine Harvest salmon farm known as Midsummer Island to perform ceremony to begin the process of cleansing their waters of the filth of the salmon farming industry.

Over the past 29 years, the Dzawada’enuxw have repeatedly told the BC and Canadian governments that they do not want salmon farms in their territory. Despite their clear and sustained rejection of the salmon farming industry one third of the BC salmon farming industry is currently using Dzawada’enuxw territory to raise Atlantic salmon.  How and why did this happen?

Do nations who reject salmon farms have to host them in their territories and if so why? Why is BC and Canada allowing these corporations to farm Atlantic salmon in the territories of First Nations who say “no?”

I joined the Dzawada’enuxw as their guest and as a biologist and put a Go Pro camera into a few of the pens and filmed the first hard evidence that farm salmon are feeding on wild fish trapped in the pens. This means to me that the industry is profiting from free food at the expense of the Dzawada’enuxw and other nations and Canadians.

The Dzawada’enuxw lost 29 per cent of the young salmon leaving the rivers of their territory in 2015 – Scientific Paper.  They have made it clear to Canada and British Columbia that they do not want this industry using their territory.  They exercised their rights, in their territory, to make it clear to Marine Harvest, Cermaq and Canada that they do not accept the presence and harm of this industry and Marine Harvest has sued them for trying to protect the wild fish of this coast, a benefit to all Canadians present and future.

This is for all of us and the whales, bears, eagles, forests who depend on wild salmon.

There were people working on this before me when I started in 1989. Over the decades, First Nation opposition, public outcry, science, and the dismal economics of replacing wild with farmed salmon have fallen on deaf ears of the presiding governments. Every negative reveal about salmon farming has been shoved under the carpet and now Canada is tripping over the hard-to-ignore lump.  It may have been easy for government to protect the industry in the beginning, but not anymore. Governments are putting their credibility at risk.

Salmon farms are starring in four lawsuits distributed across federal and BC provincial courts and these are exposing the ribs, backbone and sheer size of the thing that has been crawling around out of sight under government protection. Now we are getting a glimpse of what has been loosed onto this coast.

Lawsuit #1 – In 2015, DFO was found in violation of the Fisheries Act for permitting transfer of farm salmon that could be carrying diseases into sea pens.  In a 2015 ruling – DFO was ordered to test for disease.

Lawsuit #2 – DFO and Marine Harvest joined forces to appeal lawsuit #1, presumably so the industry could continue transferring disease-carrying farm fish into wild fish habitat, this appeal stands in a state of limbo as DFO paused it back in May, but now refuses to bring it to trial or drop it.

Lawsuit #3 I sued the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans for ignoring lawsuit #1, thus breaking the law and putting wild salmon at risk. Not testing for disease benefits the three Norwegians who are the salmon farming industry in BC, and is not in public interest.

Lawsuit #4 Marine Harvest sues me, John and Jane Doe and all other persons unknown to the plaintiff occupying, obstructing, blocking, or physically impeding the plaintiff’s aquaculture sites for trespass and nuisanceREAD MORE

 

 

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