Friday, February 5, 2010

Prosecute Marine Harvest now

The pacific wild salmon, a keystone species. Photo Isabelle Groc, Tidlife Photography

To: Todd Gerhardt
Senior Crown Counsel
Public Prosecution Service of Canada

Dear Mr. Gerhardt,

I understand from a recent correspondence with Alexandra Morton that you are pondering whether or not to prosecute the matter of Marine Harvest's alleged illegal possession of wild pink salmon in the Broughton Archipelago in 2009.

One of the questions you are pondering, Ms. Morton reports, is whether such a prosecution would be in the public interest.

For what it's worth, my answer to you is Yes. We, the public, are interested in seeing this matter prosecuted for at least two reasons:

1. Reason of ecology. The pacific wild salmon is a keystone species on which the entire coastal ecosystem of British Columbia depends. Any interference with the well-being of our salmon must be diligently prosecuted, to ensure that both the salmon and the natural and human communities which heavily rely on them receive full protection under the Canadian law.

2. Reason of justice. The alleged defendant in this matter is not your average Joe Doe. It is Marine Harvest, a multibillion transnational corporation with considerable financial, economic, and political power. If Joe Doe had allegedly poached on pink salmon, he would have been swiftly prosecuted and the question of public interest would not even have been asked. To allow Marine Harvest to walk away without being properly prosecuted for its alleged actions, would send a clear message to the public that the Marine Harvests of the world are above the Canadian law.

I'll be forthcoming with you, Mr. Gerhardt. My confidence in the ability of our legal system to protect the public against powerful corporations is weak, to say the least. I feel that the independence of our legal system has been compromised, that it has become an instrument of domination in the hands of powerful private interests. I will venture further to say that my sentiment reflects that of a large portion of the general public today.

Nothing would fill me with more joy than to be proven wrong on this point. I want to - and I will - change my mind if I am given tangible reasons to do so. I challenge you, Mr. Gerhardt, to prove me wrong. Compel me to revise my harsh opinion about the dismal state of our legal system. Prosecute Marine Harvest now.

Yours very truly,

Ivan Doumenc
Vancouver, BC



  1. When you were talking with Alex Morton, did she tell you that she was given a warning for the same offence a few years ago - killing pink salmon without a license or permit. Oops.

    She was given a letter of warning by DFO. Marine Harvest also received a letter of warning.

    Seems as though you have either been given selective information or choose to communicate selective information.

  2. Ha

    Yes this is true! I was catching lice encrusted salmon fry trying to figure out what was happening, where the lice were coming from in 2001. And DFO asked me to get them some and then busted me. However, they were right I should have had a licence and do now and so should they.

    However, that was a few fry, the issue with the farms is thousands of salmon, herring and other species. In my case DFO was not shy about going after me, but in the case of the salmon farms they refuse to look.

    That is not right.


  3. A calm, reasoned letter. Thank you for sending it. I too am sick of how large corporations seem to get away with so much. "Justice" ... we'll see what happens next.