Mowi seeks judicial review of Discovery Islands closure
January 19, 2021
By Grow Opportunity staff
Mowi Canada West is taking to the courts to challenge the salmon farm closures in the Discovery Islands in British Columbia.
On Jan. 18, the B.C.-based salmon producer filed a judicial review to the Federal Court of Canada in Vancouver. The company is asking the courts to find the decisions made by Fisheries and Oceans Canada Minister Bernadette Jordan as unreasonable.
According to the company’s statement, Mowi claims that the government’s decision to close all fish farms in the Discovery Islands by June 2022 was made without consultation of the industry, one week before Christmas.
“The decisions and related timeliness and lack of precision are unreasonable, and threaten the viability of the Mowi’s entire operations in British Columbia,” the statement said.
About 13 to 15 Mowi farms are said to be impacted by the Discovery Islands closures, which are about 30 per cent of the company’s British Columbia operations. The company said it is unsure about the exact number, however, “as the Minister has not provided a precise listing of the affected farms, nor any details of plans beyond her initial announcement.”
As the decision stands, Mowi will need to cease all operations at its Discovery Islands farms by early January 2022. The company was scheduled to stock several farms in early 2021, but may now have to cull several million fish in its hatcheries as it has no alternative locations to place those fish.
Mowi claims this unilateral decision by the government will cause significant job loss in coastal communities, especially related to the company’s local contracts with Indigenous and non-Indigenous businesses in the region.
Mowi joins a number of groups in the B.C. aquaculture community that have spoken out against the Minister’s announcement on Dec. 17.
The B.C. Salmon Farmers’ Association has expressed its “deepest concern and disappointment” of the decision in an open letter published on Dec. 29.
The Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance has also offered its criticism of the “superficial” consultation process and expressed its intention to “hope and work for a reasonable path forward.”
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