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Morton applies for expired salmon feedlot licences

Biologist Alexandra Morton has applied for Broughton Archipelago salmon-feedlot licences “to return them to their natural state to grow wild fish to the much greater benefit of British Columbians and the B.C. economy.”

In a news release published on her website, Morton said the licences have been lapsed for years:

“I don’t know how these foreign companies can be in full production for years on expired tenures, but these sites are the fishiest places in the Broughton where we once found the highest concentrations of herring, salmon, prawns and other species.

“I have made detailed application to MAL [Ministry of Agriculture and Lands] to use these sites for what they have done so well for 8,000 years - grow wild fish to the benefit of the people, the economy and future generations who might appreciate the food security in the years to come.”

Morton argued that the salmon feedlots operated under “Licences of Occupation,” which don't have to be surveyed are considered short-term. In the release, she wrote:

“A disturbing lawlessness surrounds this industry; they post “no trespassing” signs on non-exclusive leases, that they let expire. On April 1, 2010 they slammed the door on government inspection for disease, while their pathogens free-flow into our richest fish habitat. This industry was unlawfully given to the province to manage who appears to let these companies do whatever they want.

“Privatizing ocean spaces and owning fish in the ocean is unconstitutional in Canada. Is that why the leases have not been renewed? It is time we find out what is the relationship between this Norwegian industry and all levels of our government.”

The release also quotes Chief Bob Chamberlain as saying: “The Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council fully supports Alexandra securing these leases for safe-keeping as a means to preserve wild salmon stocks and the integrity of our eco-system. We look forward to working side by side with her on this.”

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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