NGOs Challenge B.C.'s Authority Over Salmon Farming
A group of NGOs (non-governmental organizations) argued yesterday in British Columbia Superior Court that Ottawa, not British Columbia, is responsible for regulating salmon aquaculture; Ottawa delegated the authority to the province in the late 1980s.
The Wilderness Tourism Association, Area E Gillnetters Association, Fishing Vessel Owners Association and Pacific Coast Wild Salmon Society contend that because the ocean is federal jurisdiction while the fish farms are provincial jurisdiction, neither government has the full authority to protect the marine environment.
They have asked the judge to strike down two provisions of British Columbia's Fisheries Act involving fish farm licensing, returning the power to the federal government.
The federal government had the right to participate in the case but did not have any lawyers present, according to the Canadian Press. No one from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans was available to explain Ottawa's absence.
The case, which continues in Vancouver today, targets Norwegian-owned Marine Harvest Canada, British Columbia's largest salmon farmer, which is applying to renew the license at its Glacier Falls fish farm. The case also involves the provincial Minister of Agriculture and Lands.