FACEBOOK PHOTO/TANIA DICK Dzawada’enuxw First Nation Elected Chief and Traditional Leader Okwilagame (Willie Moon) right pictured in Vancouver in June 2018.

First Nation files judicial review of provincial salmon farm tenure extensions

Dzawada’enuxw First Nation challenges month-to-month fish farm arrangement

The Dzawada’enuxw First Nation (DFN) from Kingcome Inlet, B.C. has filed a petition for a judicial review in the BC Supreme Court challenging the provincial government’s decision to allow recently expired tenures for salmon farms in the Broughton Archipelago region to continue to operate on a month-to-month basis.

“In order to transition these tenures to a month-to-month arrangement, the province must first consult with the First Nations in whose waters the farms are located,” said lawyer Jack Woodward, who represents the DFN. “Since my client has received zero consultation on the matter, this decision is unconstitutional and should be overturned.”

The judicial review is the latest in a series of legal challenges led by Woodward and the DFN against 10 salmon farms in their traditional territory operated by Marine Harvest and Cermaq. The DFN nation filed a title claim in the BC Supreme Court on May 28 and an injunction on June 19 to block the renewal of expiring provincial tenures. The DFN launched a Wild Salmon Defence Fund earlier this month to raise public support for its various legal challenges.

Hereditary Chief Hawil’kwo’lal (Joe Willie) said: “The fish farming industry is infringing on our way of life, by breaking the natural circle of life that has sustained us since time immemorial. This cannot continue.” Melissa Willie (‘Tła’tłagwoł) added, “An elder told us the ocean was our food basket, and that is what these fish farms are destroying.”

While several Broughton-area First Nations continue to negotiate with the province for the removal of open ocean factory fish farms, the DFN are looking to the courts. “We’ve been fighting fish farms in our territory for over two decades and our people need justice now,” said Dzawada’enuxw First Nation Elected Chief and Traditional Leader Okwilagame (Willie Moon).

“We don’t begrudge other First Nations for engaging with government, but, based on our experience, the courts are the only effective path forward,” added Melissa Willie.

The Province will have 21 days to file a Response to the petition. “The DFN is anxious to see the contents of that document because this is a case about non-consultation, and this will be the very first occasion upon which the Province is forced to give a substantial explanation of why the fish farms are being allowed to remain within DFN territory,” said Woodward.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: A young Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

North Island students are back in class, sitting six-feet apart

School District 85 schools reopened June 1 for students who want to come in person

Universal basic income is a good thing

‘I’ve always loved change, so I’m rooting for a different way of life altogether’

Port Hardy school sending food home to students in need

Hunger doesn’t take the weekend — or a pandemic — off

Telegraph Cove Resort will open June 1 to self-contained campers only

Washrooms, showers and all other amenities will remain closed for now

VIDEO: A young Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

COVID-19 birthday drive-by celebrations snuffed out in Island community

Bylaw officer visit with threats of a fine mean parade trucks taken off the road

Vancouver Island Regional Libraries to offer ‘takeout’ style services

VIRL will offer the service on a branch-by-branch basis

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

B.C. Hockey League prepping for 2020-21

League reviewing different scenarios and start times in compliance with provincial regulations

Duncan’s Queen Margaret’s School pioneers thermal imaging in school reopening

Private school is first in B.C. to use new tech post-COVID-19

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Most Read