Government Policy Change forces Mowi Canada West to cull fish - Mowi - Canada West

Government Policy Change forces Mowi Canada West to cull fish

May 7, 2021 Campbell River, BC.

Mowi Canada West (MCW) has been forced to cull an additional 3,000,000 (est.) fish as a direct result of a sudden change by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to double the time to receive a transfer permit from 20 days to 40.

On the heels of receiving injunctive relief from the Federal Court of Canada, on April 16, 2021, MCW submitted an application for a transfer license (using the 20 day service standard) to move 600,000 juvenile salmon to its Phillips Arm farm in the Discovery Islands.  This would give MCW adequate time to safely prepare the site and transfer the fish.  The move was agreed to by the Kwiakah First Nation in a prior agreement.   On April 27, 2021 DFO notified MCW that it was doubling the time to approve a transfer permit from 20 to 40 days.  Two days later MCW responded to this notification and emphasized the need to for a timely decision by DFO “Mowi requires a decision on this application by May 4, 2021 in order to meet our operational requirements…Mowi requires sufficient notice to safely mobilize employees, contractors and equipment to site. In the normal course, it takes 90 days to rig (i.e. prepare) a site to receive fish and the cost of both rigging and derigging are significant ($600,000-$680,000 per site per process)”.

While the Minister has stated that her policy only impacts the Discovery Islands, doubling the approval time places MCW at risk of violating our agreement with First Nations in the Broughton Archipelago to have fish removed from our Port Elizabeth farm by the end of June 2021.  To date, we have received no response from the Minister.

In our ongoing efforts to mitigate the damage from Minister Jordan’s decision to end salmon farming in the Discovery Islands with no notice, MCW continues to prioritize saving the fish already at sea.   This recent decision, again with no warning, has forced us to take the following steps:

  1. Through the good graces of three Broughton First Nations, MCW has been provided the opportunity to move fish (est. 600,000) already at sea at our Port Elizabeth farm into another Broughton salmon farm.
  2. We will continue to try to find a transfer home for the additional est. 600,000 fish already at sea that were destined for farms in the Discovery Islands.
  3. We will begin culling more than 3,000,000 salmon in our hatcheries in the coming weeks. This is the equivalent of 61,000,000 million meals lost.

“Minister Jordan continues to put us in untenable situations and we don’t understand why.   She has now twice substantively changed the requirements without any input, consultation or discussion with this sector,” said Dr. Diane Morrison, Managing Director for MCW.

“It is shocking that a Federal Minister can so cavalierly disregard not only the people who rely on this sector but also the Federal Court of Canada and the administration of regulatory fairness that governs all resource sectors across Canada,” says Dean Dobrinsky, spokesperson for MCW

MCW and other affected companies in British Columbia filed for a judicial review of the decisions made by Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, on December 17th, 2020 regarding licenses for salmon farms in the Discovery Islands area. MCW is asking the courts to find the decisions unreasonable and to set them aside.

About Mowi Canada West:

Mowi Canada West operates salmon farms and processing plants on British Columbia’s Central Coast, Vancouver Island and in Surrey BC, Canada, where more than 500 people raise 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

Media Contact:

Dean Dobrinsky

Mowi Canada West


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