CANADA - From June 9 to 13, 2014, Marine Harvest Canada (MHC) provided the Federal Court of Canada with information resulting from significant new research confirming the company's salmon are not a risk to wild salmon or consumers.
Responding to a legal challenge initiated by Alexandra Morton against the Minister of Fisheries and MHC, the company provided the Court with evidence including fish health data which refuted the allegations made by Ms Morton showing them as clearly erroneous and scientifically baseless.
The legal challenge - which questions the authority of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to allow the company to transfer fish from its facilities - includes allegations that the piscine reovirus (PRV) is linked to Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammation (HSMI), and suggests that the latter is present in MHC's farm-raised Atlantic salmon.
MHC provided the Court with independent third party evidence that confirms PRV occurs naturally in wild fish in the Pacific Northwest, predates the start of BC salmon farming operations, does not compromise fish health in the farms of MHC or in farmed or wild salmon in B.C. in general, and is not associated with HSMI. Furthermore, HSMI has not been found in any fish (farmed or wild) in the Pacific Northwest despite extensive testing.
"While the court would have been within its right to dismiss this case due to lack of evidence brought forth by the applicant, Marine Harvest wanted the case to proceed to set the record straight," says Vincent Erenst, Managing Director at MHC.
"Since these allegations were made, we've commissioned a significant amount of independent research confirming our fish are healthy."
Proceedings were completed on June 13, 2014. Mr Justice Rennie will rule on the authority of the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to authorize B.C.'s salmon aquaculture facilities to transfer fish from one site to another in the coming months.
Marine Harvest Canada is British Columbia's leading aquaculture company and supplier of Sterling brand salmon, producing 40,000 tonnes of fresh farm-raised salmon at sites on and around Vancouver Island.
TheFishSite News Desk