HomeNewsIsland & CoastJudge upholds former minister's decision to let salmon farm licences lapse

Judge upholds former minister’s decision to let salmon farm licences lapse

A request by two Campbell River First Nations for Ottawa to reconsider cancelling salmon farm licences has been rejected by a federal court.

Judge Paul Favel ruled that former fisheries minister Joyce Murray’s 2023 decision to not renew salmon farm licences in the Discovery Islands region should stand.

Favel said Murray’s decision “met the requirement of the duty to consult” and was not unfair to salmon farmers. He also said Murray’s decision was “reasonable” given uncertain risks posed to wild salmon by salmon farms.

The challenge was launched by the Wei Wai Kum and We Wai Kai First Nations along with salmon farm companies.

The federal government has for years promised a plan to transition farms out of the ocean by 2025, but no plan has yet been revealed.

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In a statement, the BC Salmon Farmers Association said the ruling won’t affect decisions about licence renewals for BC salmon farms, which come due this summer.

“While this news is disheartening, there is still a collaborative pathway forward with the current Minister, as this decision was made by the preceding minister and will not impact the future delivery of a responsible transition plan or the upcoming licencing decision,” the BCSFA said in a statement. “We will have more to say in the coming weeks after we have had time to review this decision in more detail.”

Earlier this year current fisheries minister Dianne Lebouthillier said there won’t be any more farm closures until the transition plan is finalized sometime next year.

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