VANCOUVER — A B.C. Supreme Court judge has granted Atlantic-salmon farming company Marine Harvest an interim injunction to prevent both specific protesters and members of the public from getting too close to more than 30 of its sites.
The only exception is for Alexandra Morton, an independent biologist, who will be allowed to continue taking samples near the fish farm pens, as long as she conducts her work in a boat that’s no longer than 2.6 metres.
In her decision, Justice Miriam Maisonville, said “given the evidence of the intimidation being carried out against Marine Harvest’s employees by the defendants, there is a necessity to have a buffer zone.”
The injunction she granted creates a no-go zone between salmon farm pens and the buoys surrounding them.
On Thursday, Morton said, “I appreciate that she’s acknowledged the value of the science I’m doing, I think that if other scientists had been involved she probably would have granted them an exemption as well.”
Morton is concerned, however, that the size of boat she will now have to use to complete her sampling will be unsafe in B.C. waters.
“Fortunately, I’ve done most of the sites,” said Morton, who collects fish waste, including feces and tissues, as its flows out of fish farm pens and has it tested for viruses associated with the salmon-farming industry globally.
While Morton will be allowed to finish her sampling work, the injunction does prevent named defendants, including two hereditary chiefs, and members of the public from coming within the buffer zone.
Noah Ross, the lawyer representing Ernest Alfred, a hereditary leader from the ‘Namgis First Nation and Karissa Glendale, a member of the Dzawada’enuxw First Nation, said he’s disappointed with the decision.
Much of the territory covered by the injunction is unceded, Ross said, but the federal and provincial governments have allowed fish farms to operate in the First Nations’ traditional territory despite opposition from the communities.
“When those Nations do make small signs of resistance like going to the fish farms and demonstrating their opposition, the corporations that hold those licenses of operation are able to go to the courts and get remedies such as an injunction,” he said, adding that these types of issues are why some people are frustrated with the colonial legal and political system.
But Maisonville said she agrees that Marine Harvest continues to “suffer irreparable harm” because of trespass on its sites, interference with its operations, the risk of damage to the company’s property, and the distress the defendants’ actions caused for Marine Harvest employees.
In a statement, Jeremy Dunn, a spokesperson for the company said, “Marine Harvest applied for the injunction after activists boarded several farms last year, creating an unsafe work environment for employees, and occupied Marine Harvest buildings on Swanson Island.”
Dunn added that Marine Harvest and other salmon farming companies have engaged a Campbell River firm CVI to “provide health and safety support so that our employees can concentrate on caring for their fish.”
According to Morton, the firm operates as Black Cube Strategy and Consulting and has been following the scientist and other protesters in boats with blacked out windows and cameras.
Dunn said “the health and safety teams are mobile on the water so that they may provide support to our multiple farms in the area that faced harassment from activists over the past number of months.”
If patriarchy is not replaced there will be nothing left alive on Mother Earth.
Check out Winans v United States 1905 out of Washington State Yakima Nation Inherent Fishing Rights.