On Friday the 13th, the lawyer for Fisheries and Ocean wrote to my lawyers at Ecojustice asking if the appeal against me could be adjourned until some time in October. This took everyone by surprise, because only a few weeks ago the same lawyer was in such a hurry that we could not wait for a court date in Vancouver and the hearing date was set for May 26th in Calgary! In his letter of the 13th, clues were provided as to why the sudden and urgent change of heart:
“We write to seek an order by consent that the May 26, 2016 hearing of the appeals in Calgary be adjourned to the next available date in Vancouver in October 2016, or as soon as possible thereafter…
We are advised by our client that the new information relating to matters raised on the appeals has come to the DFO’s attention. DFO needs time to complete the analysis and determine if this information impacts its position on the appeals. The other parties may also want to consider whether their positions are impacted. DFO is conducting a preliminary review of the information and will provide it to the parties in the coming weeks.”
Yesterday the Court of Appeals granted DFO's request for an adjournment! We are not going to Calgary and the case is on pause.
I have two reactions to this.
- I am impressed that the Trudeau government has responded appropriately to "new information" that they feel is significant, by asking for the time they need to review this "new information".
- Since this case is about the risk of putting disease-carrying farmed salmon into the marine waters of BC, I can only imagine DFO has received information that a pathogen known to exist in BC farmed salmon may be a risk to wild salmon and that as a result DFO is reconsidering going to court to reinstate the salmon farming companies right to legally release this pathogen into our oceans.
However, my experience of 30 years of trying to protect wild salmon from Norwegian salmon farmers makes me concerned that Canadians will not be given the full risk evaluation of this "new information." I suspect we will need to work together to make sure we get it.
The ramifications of this "new information" are enormous. My lawsuit includes all potential pathogens in farmed salmon, but it revolves around the piscine reovirus. If DFO has information that piscine reovirus causes the disease HSMI in BC, we know that ~ 95% of farmed salmon in BC are infected with PRV, and this means the BC salmon farming industry does not have any salmon that they can legally stock their pens with.
Now we hear DFO is going to make an announcement tomorrow about the health of farmed Atlantic salmon.
Stay tuned I will post an update here tomorrow and thank you for sticking with me through this. First Nations may want to demand a bill of health on all farmed salmon currently in their territories and find out if they are infected. This is essential to understanding the risk of farmed salmon to wild salmon.
If this concerns you please consider signing the petition to legislate removal of salmon farms from our oceans; CLICK HERE TO SIGN
See short video by Twyla Roscovich interviewing Norwegian scientists on the dangers of piscine reovirus