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Salmon farming and the courts

It was known from the early 1980s, that salmon farming was an intentional move away from traditional fisheries and that there was a high risk of importing new and dangerous viruses, that employment would be low, and ownership foreign. The conflict with coastal communities was anticipated. Read about the arrival of salmon farming in British Columbia in my blog.

The greatest legislative problem for salmon farmers in BC is that, under the Constitution of Canada, ownership of fish in the ocean and privatizing ocean spaces are both unlawful in Canada. And yet the salmon farming industry attempts to do both.

It is not surprise that people seeking to protect the coastline from the impacts of farmed salmon were forced to the courts. Below are some of the legal efforts used to try to protect the coastline of BC from the impact of salmon farming.


2014 — NAFTA decision to investigate Canadian government’s violations of its Fisheries Act
May 7, 2013 — Morton vs. Minster of Fisheries and Marine Harvest Inc. filed in Federal Court with Ecojustice challenging the transfer of diseased fish in the ocean.
October 2012 — Cohen Commission releases recommendations in a Final Report
March 2010 — Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia delivered the decision: Order F10-06 MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND LANDS (BC provincial ministry).
November 6, 2009 — The Cohen Commission into the Decline of the Sockeye in the Fraser River. On November 6, 2009 the Canadian Minister of International Trade announced a federal inquiry into the decline of sockeye salmon in the Fraser River.
2009 — Morton vs. Marine Harvest Unlawful Possession – Fisheries Act
2009 — BC Supreme Court, Class Action launched Between Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council and Stolt Sea Farm Inc, Heritage Salmon Ltd, Her Majesty The Queen in Right of BC as represented by the Minster of Agriculture, Food and Fish and the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
2008 — BC Supreme Court challenge to the jurisdiction of the Province of British Columbia to regulate salmon farms
2005 — Private Prosecution filed in Provincial Court of BC for release of sea lice.
1988 — A Memorandum of Understanding transfers regulation and licensing of salmon farms to the provincial government, despite Wildsmith's opinion that BC has no legislative authority to issue such a licence.
1984 — Legal opinion on constitutionality of salmon farming in Canada