First Nations Win Right to Launch Class-Action Lawsuit Over Wild Salmon Damage


From the Vancouver Sun

By Ian Mulgrew – Dec. 2, 2010

Nations have won the right to launch a class-action lawsuit over damage
to wild salmon stocks from sea-lice allegedly caused by salmon farms on
the Broughton Archipelago.

Victoria challenged proposed
representative plaintiff, Robert Chamberlin, the elected chief of an
aboriginal collective known as the Kwicksutaineuk/Ah-Kwa-Mish First
Nation, saying Indians are barred by the Class Proceedings Act from
launching such litigation.

The provincial government
contended that a class action is not the preferable procedure for
resolving the native claims, and that the challenges the First Nations
would face in establishing the fishing rights said to have been
infringed would overwhelm the law suit.

Ottawa raised
similar objections and argued the evidence failed to establish adverse
impacts on wild salmon stocks attributable to sea lice contamination
from fish farms.

In addition, the two governments said the
complications involved in deciding what rights the native people enjoyed
would make the damages phase of the case interminable.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Harry Slade disagreed and said the lawsuit should be certified and allowed to proceed.

Read Vancouver Sun article here

Click here to read the court ruling


About Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.