Cermaq Canada takes DFO to court over transfer and licence extension decision

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Courtroom fight over fate of 1.5 million juvenile salmon.

Last week, it was reported that Cermaq Canada had been denied a transfer licence by authorities that would have allowed it to grow out a final cycle of Atlantic salmon in the Discovery Islands.

The salmon farmer had applied for a licence to transfer nearly 1.5 million juvenile Atlantic salmon from its Cecil Island fish farm to two saltwater sites, Venture Point and Brent Island.

At the time, Cermaq Canada managing director David Kiemele said it was too early to say whether the 1.5 million juvenile salmonwill need to be euthanised.

Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard Bernadette Jordan also denied Cermaq’s request to extend its current licences to operate the sites to February 2023, which is beyond the 2022 deadline set by DFO last December.

Cermaq Canada confirmed to SalmonBusiness that it is now taking legal action over the transfer applications and license extensions.

“We are both disappointed and perplexed about the decision by the Minister of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to decline two Introduction and Transfer permits, for our Venture Point and Brent Island farms. This displays a lack of acknowledgment of the rights of the Wei Wai Kum Nation to make decisions regarding their core territory and does not conciliate the agreement that Cermaq has entered into with Wei Wai Kum,” said Cermaq Canada managing director David Kiemele.

“Further, it will not allow for the humane grow out of one final cycle of fish at each of these farms, as planned, and hinders the delivery of shared value to rural, coastal communities. These areas have been particularly hard hit during the pandemic. This decision will have long-reaching social and financial implications for employees and dozens of local, independent suppliers, contractors, businesses, and service providers,” he added.

“Cermaq will continue to work with the Wei Wai Kum Nation through a reconciliation process. As this is before the courts, we will not be providing any additional comments or information at this time,” concluded Cermaq Canada.