Aquaculture company wants court-ordered buffer zone around fish farms

A B.C. lawyer says an aquaculture company’s application for a court order banning specific protesters and the public from coming within 20 metres of its salmon farms is a breach of their licence and an attempt to prevent the public from monitoring the environmental impact of fish farms.

Marine Harvest, an Atlantic salmon farming company, filed the application in May asking the B.C. Supreme Court to ban three named protesters as well John and Jane Doe from entering the area within buoys surrounding structures at more than 30 sites.

Biologist Alexandra Morton is seen here in front of one of Marine Harvest’s salmon farms. The company named Morton in an application for an injunction to, among other things, ban people from coming within 20 metres of the fish farm sites.

It also asks the court to ban the named defendants and anyone aware of the order from disturbing fish, interfering with the harvest or stocking of fish, or “watching, besetting, or circling within 20 metres of any of the sites.”

In its application the company says people have occupied various sites, interfered with the restocking of pens, harassed Marine Harvest staff and damaged the company’s equipment.

At Marine Harvest’s Swanson site for instance, people have boarded the farms infrastructure, put cameras in the fish pens without authorization, harassed employees, and photographed and recorded employees as they complete their work, the company says in its application for the injunction.

Greg McDade, the managing partner with Ratcliff & Company, representing biologist Alexandra Morton, one of the named defendants, said he’s not challenging an injunction preventing people from occupying the site.

He is concerned about the company’s attempt to create a 20 metre buffer around their sites.

The licence issued by the province that allows the company to anchor their farms to the seabed requires that they don’t interfere with public access to the waters, McDade said.

In a letter to the section head of aquaculture at B.C.’s Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development McDade asked the province to notify Marine Harvest that their application is in breach of their licence.

When the fish farm licences in the Broughton Archipelago come up for renewal this month, McDade said this is one more reason why they shouldn’t be renewed.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *