Friday, September 18, 2009

Morton sues Marine Harvest

Biologist Alexandra Morton has laid charges under the Federal Fisheries Act against Marine Harvest Canada Inc. for illegal possession of wild juvenile salmon from an endangered stock.

Hundreds of small salmon were apparently seen spilling onto a dock in Port McNeill June 16, during a transfer of live Atlantic salmon brood stock from the fish farm vessel M.V. Orca Warrior. The vessel's registered owner is Marine Harvest.

"When I received photos of the incident minutes later," says Morton, "I was really surprised the fish lying on the road were young pink salmon, I could not understand what were they doing in Marine Harvest's boat."

"Marine Harvest emailed stating that the young wild salmon had come from the Potts Bay fish farm, just west of Glendale River in Knights Inlet," says Morton. "They were apparently in the farm salmon pens and were scooped up with the Atlantic salmon. We have no idea how many pink salmon ended up going down the highway in the tanks on the truck."

When Morton took her boat to the Potts Bay fish farm she said she saw large schools of pink salmon leaping inside the pens.

"While millions of tax payers dollars and environmental donations have been spent to protect the Glendale River pink salmon from fish farms, last fall was the lowest return yet.

"These are the offspring from that generation and far from safe, they are right in the farm and in their fish packers," said Morton.

Morton has published 15 scientific papers on juvenile pink salmon.

Morton's lawyer, Jeffery Jones corresponded with DFO for six weeks but the Department did not taken any action.

"I have received many reports over the years of herring, black cod and wild salmon in farm pens. The escaped Atlantic salmon that fishermen bring me often have wild fish in their stomachs.

"Are Norwegian farm salmon fattening up on wild BC fish?

"What happens to the wild fish when the nets are pulled?

"What happened to the pink salmon that may have been in the truck?

"DFO has often charged commercial and sport fishermen with illegal possession to protect wild fish, why won't they charge fish farms for the same violation?," asked Morton.

Morton asks that anyone with information on other wild fish in fish farms to contact her at

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