Biologist takes B.C. Liberals to court to save wild salmon

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      This morning (May 6), biologist Alexandra Morton went to court to challenge the provincial government’s constitutional right to regulate B.C.’s coastal waters. The issue is fish farms and the deadly effect they are having on wild salmon, she told the Straight.

      “The federal government is in charge of the ocean and the provincial government has no business regulating fish farms,” Morton said in a telephone interview.

      Morton, a member of the Raincoast Research Society and a founding member of, said that she had filed a petition in the B.C. Supreme Court that argues that coastal waters are a federal jurisdiction. Therefore, she continued, the provincial government should not be allowed to renew leases on existing fish farms. previously ran an article by Morton in which she discussed the impact fish farms have on wild salmon. In the Broughton Archipelago in 2002, she wrote, 98 percent of young pink salmon inhabiting waters around fish farms were infected with sea lice; 99 percent failed to survive and spawn in nearby rivers the following year.

      Morton claimed that in her attempts to have fish farms in B.C. moved to areas where wild salmon do not swim, both the provincial and federal governments have given her the runaround.

      “A judicial revue might languish in the courts,” Morton noted, “but given the enormous public concern about this and collapsing salmon stocks all around us, something has to happen right away.”

      Morton's past efforts: