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More businesses involved in aquaculture supplies and services are now suing the federal government for losses running into tens of millions related to ministerial decisions to close salmon farms in the Discovery Islands.

As reported by Sea West News, the companies Aquatrans Distributors Inc., Browns Bay Packing Company Ltd., Sure Cold Refrigerated Storage Inc., and JW Walkus Fishing Company, sued over the situation. They allege that current Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray and her predecessor, Bernadette Jordan, made decisions that citizens question as legal while being aware of the impact these actions could have.

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This decision has been in question for months and the first companies to raise their voices against Murray’s measures were Mowi Canada West, Cermaq Canada Ltd., Grieg Seafood BC Ltd and the coalition of the First Nation. All of them share the idea that indigenous rights have not been respected in the area and that the scientific procedures for verifying the impact of the farms have not been rigorously followed.

Adding to the controversy is Murray’s plan to implement an open-net pen transition plan for all of British Columbia, for which he visited Norway just over a week ago to learn about how the industry is working.

Entrepreneurs experience it in this way

David Stover, co-owner and CEO of Brown’s Bay Packing Company, told Sea West News that it has reduced its operations by approximately 40%. Furthermore, he said that after just three years of announcing the covid reparation measures, this decision makes no sense. “They are cutting our livelihoods…it just doesn’t make any sense for the hundreds of people who are losing their jobs,” he said.

On the other hand, for the same newspaper, the founder of James Walkus Fishing Company, an elder of the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nation, explained that he has lost about 30% of his business. Moreover, he explained the relevance of the decision “aquaculture is key for our wild fish to thrive… The employment it creates for many of our First Nations and other Canadians is important.”

At the moment all the companies’ projects are on stand-by in BC while waiting to see how the political and judicial decisions on the Discovery Islands licenses will progress.

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