Marine Harvest SLAPPed back

On September 23, 2016 Marine Harvest sued Alexandra Morton and John and Jane Doe and All other Persons Unknown for trespass, nuisance and damages.  On November 16, 2016, I joined three hereditary Dzawada’enuxw chiefs who filed a response to Marine Harvest, the biggest salmon farming corporation in the world based in Norway.

Traditional leaders Farron Soukochoff, Willie Moon and Joe Willie (seen below) deny any act of trespass or nuisance as they were within the lawful traditional territory of the Dzawada’enuxw Nation and do not consent to pay damages to Marine Harvest. ((Download 2016-11-15 Response to Civil Claim – FILED (01297960)))

Hereditary leader serves salmon farm an eviction notice

On August 23, 2016, chiefs and others of the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw First Nation and sister nations arrived at the Marine Harvest salmon farm known as Midsummer Island to perform ceremony to begin the process of cleansing their waters of the filth of the salmon farming industry.

Over the past 29 years, the Dzawada’enuxw have repeatedly told the BC and Canadian governments that they do not want salmon farms in their territory. Despite their clear and sustained rejection of the salmon farming industry one third of the BC salmon farming industry is currently using Dzawada’enuxw territory to raise Atlantic salmon.  How and why did this happen?

Do nations who reject salmon farms have to host them in their territories and if so why? Why is BC and Canada allowing these corporations to farm Atlantic salmon in the territories of First Nations who say “no?”

I joined the Dzawada’enuxw as their guest and as a biologist and put a Go Pro camera into a few of the pens and filmed the first hard evidence that farm salmon are feeding on wild fish trapped in the pens. This means to me that the industry is profiting from free food at the expense of the Dzawada’enuxw and other nations and Canadians.  I also filmed hundreds of Atlantic salmon in very poor health, emaciated and no longer swimming.  What is wrong with these fish and how big a threat is it to wild fish?  This video has over 1 million views on facebook.  Here is the youtube version of Hard Evidence.

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The Dzawada’enuxw lost 29% of the young salmon leaving the rivers of their territory in 2015 – Scientific Paper.  They have made it clear to Canada and British Columbia that they do not want this industry using their territory.  They exercised their rights, in their territory, to make it clear to Marine Harvest, Cermaq and Canada that they do not accept the presence and harm of this industry and Marine Harvest has sued them for trying to protect the wild fish of this coast, a benefit to all Canadians present and future.

This is for all of us and the whales, bears, eagles, forests who depend on wild salmon.

If you want to help there are two very important things you can do:

  1. Contribute to our legal fund
  2. .

  3. While the Dzawada’enuxw do not want closed containment salmon farming in their territory, regarding salmon farming Canada-wide there is a Bill before Parliament to get this industry out of the ocean and you can help
  4. .

The history of people trying to protect the BC coast from salmon farms began the moment the industry arrived in the early 1980s.

There were people working on this before me when I started in 1989. Over the decades, First Nation opposition, public outcry, science, and the dismal economics of replacing wild with farmed salmon have fallen on deaf ears of the presiding governments. Every negative reveal about salmon farming has been shoved under the carpet and now Canada is tripping over the hard-to-ignore lump.  It may have been easy for government to protect the industry in the beginning, but not anymore. Governments are putting their credibility at risk.

Salmon farms are starring in four lawsuits distributed across federal and BC provincial courts and these are exposing the ribs, backbone and sheer size of the thing that has been crawling around out of sight under government protection. Now we are getting a glimpse of what has been loosed onto this coast.

Lawsuit #1 – In 2015, DFO was found in violation of the Fisheries Act for permitting transfer of farm salmon that could be carrying diseases into sea pens.  In a 2015 ruling, DFO was ordered to test for disease.

Lawsuit #2 – DFO and Marine Harvest joined forces to appeal lawsuit #1, presumably so the industry could continue transferring disease-carrying farm fish into wild fish habitat, this appeal stands in a state of limbo as DFO paused it back in May, but now refuses to bring it to trial or drop it.

Lawsuit #3 I sued the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans for ignoring lawsuit #1, thus breaking the law and putting wild salmon at risk. Not testing for disease benefits the three Norwegians who are the salmon farming industry in BC, and is not in public interest.

Lawsuit #4 Marine Harvest sues me, John and Jane Doe and all other persons unknown to the plaintiff occupying, obstructing, blocking, or physically impeding the plaintiff’s aquaculture sites for trespass and nuisance.

Apparently Lawsuit #1 is a showstopper for the salmon farming industry. By all accounts most of their fish are infected with piscine reovirus and thus if they can’t put them into sea pens on the BC coast, they really can not farm salmon legally in BC.

1Marine Harvest when you served me for trespass, you stepped onto new ground. You are no longer ignoring me. It appears you wish to teach me and the nameless – person’s unknown – a lesson. But the real lesson here is the depths of your relationship with the Canadian government.

I think the salmon farming industry has a serious disease problem that is causing catastrophic decline in BC wild salmon and herring. Canada appears to be breaking the law .  If Canada doesn’t test for piscine reovirus, no one will know how much of this highly contagious virus is entering BC waters. Your problem, Marine Harvest, is solved as ours begins.

The disturbing relationship between Canada and the three Norwegian-run companies using BC is not Trudeau’s doing. However, it appears his government has opted to fall in line and obey the unwritten rules of the game, even violating the laws of Canada to do so. Minister LeBlanc has bowed to the bully, leaving wild salmon to swim through a blizzard of viruses, bacteria and parasites at every salmon farm. When the farms pump their dead fish from the bottom of the pens, pieces of farm salmon flesh and guts are pouring out of the farms. I am witness to this. Why is Canada doing this to the coast of BC?

Why did Canada ignore Norway’s warning and allow a known threat into BC waters?

Why has Canada gifted this industry access to the BC coast at a fraction of the cost Norway charges?

Why is Canada compromising its integrity to benefit a dirty foreign business that has put one of the world’s most valuable wild fisheries at risk?

What is Canada getting in return?

What else is under the carpet?

Alexandra Morton was living in a remote archipelago studying whales when the fish farmers came to her town. Read other articles by Alexandra, or visit Alexandra's website.