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Morton takes Marine Harvest to court

Biologist Alexandra Morton today went to court to charge Marine Harvest Canada Inc. with illegal possession of wild juvenile salmon from an endangered stock.

In a news release, Morton described the incident in Port McNeill on June 16 that triggered the charge.

On June 16, 2009, hundreds of small salmon were seen spilling onto a dock in Port McNeill during a transfer of live Atlantic salmon brood stock from the fish farm vessel M.V. Orca Warrior into tanks on a truck. The vessel’s registered owner is Marine Harvest.

“When I received photos of the incident minutes later,” says Morton, “I was really surprised the fish lying on the road were young pink salmon, I could not understand what were they doing in Marine Harvest’s boat.”

“Marine Harvest emailed stating that the young wild salmon had come from the Potts Bay fish farm, just west of Glendale River in Knights Inlet,” says Morton.

“They were apparently in the farm salmon pens and were scooped up with the Atlantic salmon. We have no idea how many pink salmon ended up going down the highway in the tanks on the truck.”

When Morton took her boat to the Potts Bay fish farm she saw large schools of pink salmon leaping inside the pens.

“While millions of tax payers dollars and environmental donations have been spent to protect the Glendale River pink salmon from fish farms, last fall was the lowest return yet. These are the offspring from that generation and far from safe, they are right in the farm and in their fish packers,” said Morton.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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