News Release from Salmon Are Sacred (October 21)
Sointula, British Columbia
– The Norwegian-owned salmon farming company Marine Harvest is in court next week (October 25-27) in Port Hardy charged with four counts of illegal possession of wild herring and salmon.
“Marine Harvest admitted to having wild salmon in their net,” said Bill McKay of Mackay Whale Watching, who is a witness for the prosecution and will be testifying in court. “I am sick and tired of Marine Harvest riding roughshod over our laws and operating without a care for the marine environment and wilderness tourism industry.”
“We look forward to the Department of Justice legally protecting BC’s wild salmon,” said Jeffrey Jones of Jeffrey Jones & Company Law Office, a former Crown prosecutor for DFO. Mr. Jones filed the private prosecution in 2009 on behalf of Alexandra Morton. Mr. Jones added. “The Government should send a strong signal that Norwegian multinationals like Marine Harvest cannot operate outside the laws of British Columbia.”
“Salmon feedlots attract wild fish into the pens with their lights and food,” said Alexandra Morton of Salmon Are Sacred. “There are strict laws in this country about killing wild fish without a licence - I laid the original charge because Fisheries and Oceans would not.”
Alexandra Morton: 250 974 7086
Jeffery Jones:250 956 3358
In April 2010, in a landmark initiative the Province of British Columbia stayed charges
against Marine Harvest and filed a new indictment. On April 16
, the Department of Justice (DOJ) laid four counts of illegal possession of wild herring and salmon against Marine Harvest. Todd Gerhart of the Department of Justice took over as prosecutor from Jeffrey Jones, Alexandra Morton’s lawyer, who first brought a private prosecution in 2009
The Vancouver Observer
April 2010): “It is my strong opinion,” says Mr. Jones, a former Crown Prosecutor for DOJ, “that this industry was given access to the BC coast and appears to have been conducting itself as if it were above the law. Today’s decision by Mr. Gerhart and the Department of Justice confirms that no corporation is above the law. This is why private prosecutions are important democratic safeguards. Ms. Morton’s prosecution has triggered enforcement action by DOJ.”
In June 2009
, young wild salmon were observed falling from a load of farm salmon broodstock being off-loaded from Marine Harvest’s vessel Orca Warrior. Some of these fish were collected and Marine Harvest admitted in the newspaper to catching the wild salmon.
: Illegally caught British Columbia pink salmon were discovered during off-loading operations at Marine Harvest
“When a witness saw wild salmon spilling onto a road out of a farm fish transport vessel and collected some of these fish we contacted the local Fisheries enforcement officers,” reported Alexandra Morton in September 2009
. “After 22 years of living among salmon farms, my neighbours and I have begun to question if salmon farms are above the law. Displacing my neighbours from their fishing grounds, the resident whales, using pit lamps, releasing deleterious substances, losing exotic salmon into the Pacific, possessing wild salmon without a licence and many other activities go on without consequence to the fish farming industry..... My lawyer, Jeffery Jones (who is acting for me Pro Bono) and I, both feel the weight of government inertia. We remain concerned that the activities of salmon farms impacting on Canada’s wild salmon will continue if government abdicates its power to enforce the laws of Canada against certain industries.”
The charges stem from two incidents
. The first was the June incident that led Alexandra Morton to lay charges against Marine Harvest, because Fisheries and Oceans would not. The second incident occurred in October 2009, where a large number of herring were killed during a sorting process in with farmed Atlantic salmon. The Justice Department also said Marine Harvest did not file required reports on the capture of "incidental wild fish." The Justice Department, said the company also failed to release the fish in such a way as to cause the fish little or no harm.
is the world’s largest salmon farming company and owns 55%
of the salmon farms in British Columbia. The Norwegian-based company is owned by Norway’s richest man – John Fredriksen – who is worth $10.7 billion and ranked 72nd
on the ‘Forbes Billionnaires
In the 1980s in Norway, Mr. Fredriksen
was arrested and jailed on charges of insurance fraud – the case was settled out of court and he paid a fine of 2 million NOK and had to pay the insurance company over US $ 800,000.
, Orca Shipping Inc. (who was owned by Pan Fish – now part of Marine Harvest) was fined $1,000 for failing to take reasonable precautions to prevent the escape of fish during transport in British Columbia.
, Nutreco (now called Marine Harvest) received more warning letters and violation tickets from the province than any other salmon farming company – five violation tickets of $115 each for contravening fisheries act regulations in British Columbia. Pan Fish (now Marine Harvest) was also fined $5,500 for putting one million fish in the water without a permit.
, the labour inspector for the Los Lagos Region of Chile fined Marine Harvest over the death of a diver working as a sub-contractor repairing anti-predator nets around salmon pens. Marine Harvest had neither an emergency plan for work-related injuries, nor a plan for transporting workers to a center for medical assistance, both of which are health and safety norms in Chile. That same month in another incident, a Marine Harvest worker drowned in Llanquihue Lake, because he had not been issued a life jacket. The regional labour inspector cited Marine Harvest (1) for failing to have an up to date accident log and (2) for failing to report the worker's death to authorities, both violations of Chilean labour code.
, Marine Harvest was fined £4,000 following an investigation by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency for allowing fish guts, blood, scum and grease to enter the River Lochy.
, Marine Harvest was fined £23,500 for illegal practices including breaching their water use licence, an unauthorised discharge of effluent to a river, depositing sludge on land and burning waste in Scotland.
, Marine Harvest Canada was fined $75,000 for the death of a worker at one of its farms near Klemtu. WorkSafeBC said as the prime contractor of a multiple-employer workplace, Marine Harvest failed to coordinate the health and safety activities of employers, workers, and others at the workplace, and it failed to establish and maintain a system to ensure compliance with the Workers Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.