Corporation linked to kicking teen off soccer team had part of licence revoked for transferring diseased salmon into open-net farms
A multinational aquaculture corporation linked to a 14-year-old girl being dismissed from a soccer team for refusing to stop criticizing the practice of salmon farming had part of its fish farm licence struck down by a judge because the company released diseased salmon into open pens, court records show.
The federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans has been illegally allowing Marine Harvest Canada to transfer farmed salmon carrying diseases into marine net pens with the potential to ‘severely impact’ the wild fishery at an international level, the Honourable Mr. Justice Rennie ruled on May 6, 2015 at the Federal Court in Vancouver, BC.
Marine biologist Alexandra Morton initiated legal action against Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Marine Harvest Canada after discovering that fish infected with the piscine reovirus (PRV), a disease that affects most farmed salmon on off the BC coast, had been transferred into an open-pen fish farm operated by Marine Harvest in Shelter Bay, BC.
“The problem for the BC salmon farming industry is that most of the fish in their pens are infected with this virus,” the award winning salmon researcher said. “It is critical to them to be allowed to use piscine reovirus infected fish, because they don’t have enough uninfected fish to be profitable.”
Justice Rennie struck down the part of the licence that allowed the Norwegian corporation to transfer diseased fish “if the facility veterinarian has conducted a risk assessment of facility fish health records, review of diagnostic reports, evaluation of stock compartmentalization, and related biosecurity measures and deemed the transfer to be low risk.”
Justice Rennie found the extension to be incompatible with section 56 of the Fishery (General) Regulations which states that Fisheries Minister may only issue a licence “the fish do not have any disease or disease agent that may be harmful to the protection and conservation of fish” and “the release or transfer of the fish will not have an adverse effect on the stock size of fish or the genetic characteristics of fish or fish stocks.”
Meanwhile local fishermen in Comox, BC have set up a trust fund to help Freyja Reed, the teen activist who was kicked out of the Marine Harvest Riptide soccer club for speaking out against the activities of Marine Harvest.
“We have been patient and have tried to accommodate the salmon farming industry, but we are not going to stand by and see a 14-year-old girl lose her dream of playing soccer and her hopes of being able to attend university because she refused to advertise the salmon farming industry every time she stepped onto the playing field,” Travis Hird, the spokesman for the group, said in a press release issued Wednesday.