Class-action Suit to be Filed Over
by Larry Pynn
Aboriginal people in the Broughton Archipelago off northeastern Vancouver Island say they will file a class-action lawsuit against the B.C. government for damages caused by salmon farming to wild stocks.
"This is not something we've done lightly," Chief Bob Chamberlain of the Kwicksutaineuk Ah-Kwa-Mish First Nation said in an interview Monday. "It's such a crucial struggle for our people."
Chamberlain said the class-action suit will involve a total of eight first nations concerned about the detrimental impact of open-net salmon farming on their stocks.
The salmon-farming industry has been the subject of long-standing concerns related to issues such as transmission of sea lice and disease to wild stocks, as well as pollution, and the escape of non-native Atlantic salmon to the wild.
Asked if natives are seeking financial compensation in the legal action, Chamberlain said: "This isn't monetary-driven. If that was the case, we'd be involved in the industry. We're looking at safeguarding our wild salmon as our starting point and our end point. We don't think that's been the focus here."
News of the class-action lawsuit comes only days before the imminent release of a report on sea lice by the Pacific Salmon Forum, a body appointed by the provincial government.
Release of the forum's report has been delayed out of respect for the death Jan. 20 of Stan Hagen, the minister of agriculture and lands, who had responsibility for aquaculture.
The natives said in a news release Monday they will host a news conference Wednesday in Vancouver to release details of the "class-action law suit against the British Columbia government to address the impacts of salmon farms on wild salmon in their territory."
learn more on topics covered in the film
see the video
read the script
learn the songs