Mowi seeks judicial review of Minister’s decision on Discovery Islands salmon farms
January 18, 2021
Campbell River, BC –Today Mowi Canada West applied to the Federal Court of Canada in Vancouver for judicial review of the decisions made by Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, on December 17, 2020 regarding licenses for salmon farms in the Discovery Islands area. Mowi is asking the courts to find the decisions unreasonable and to set them aside.
These decisions, made without consultation of the industry, one week before Christmas, prohibit the issuance of new or replacement aquaculture licences for aquaculture sites and prohibit any fish being transferred into aquaculture sites within the Discovery Islands area. These decisions were made as part of a policy decision by the Minister to end net pen salmon farming in the Discovery Islands by June 30, 2022.
Approximately 13 – 15 Mowi farms are impacted. The exact number is not known as the Minister has not provided a precise listing of the affected farms, nor any details or plans beyond her initial announcement.
The decisions and related timelines and lack of precision are unreasonable, and threaten the viability of all Mowi’s operations in British Columbia.
Some of the consequences of the decision include:
- Mowi’s Discovery Islands farms are 30 per cent of the company’s British Columbia operations, so if the decision stands the company will have to close almost a third of its business over the next 12 months, resulting in significant direct financial losses.
- Losing a third of its operations due to a unilateral government decision puts the company’s entire operations at risk of closure.
- Mowi is scheduled to stock several farms in early 2021, but under the Minister’s decisions is currently unable to do so. If the decision stands Mowi will have to cull several million young fish currently in hatcheries, as it has no alternative locations to place those fish.
- As the decision stands, the closing of salmon farms will result in significant job loss in coastal communities. These employees work directly on the impacted farms as well as in hatcheries, processing facilities, and supporting departments.
- Mowi will be forced to terminate or reduce contracts with local Indigenous and non-Indigenous businesses supplying goods and services supporting the farms, hatcheries, and processing facilities.
- Mowi will need to cease all operations at its impacted farms by early January 2022 to ensure the decommissioning process can be completed within the current licence period.
About Mowi Canada West:
Mowi Canada West operates salmon farms and processing plants in British Columbia, Canada, where 645 people raise up to 40,000 tonnes of sustainable Atlantic salmon each year. Mowi Canada West is part of the Mowi ASA group, the world’s largest producer of Atlantic salmon.
Further information at mowicanadawest.ca
Mowi Canada West