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B.C. Case: A Front to Fight Fish Farms?

by Ellen Hardy
01 October 2008, at 1:00am

CANADA - A court case demanding responsibility for B.C.'s coastal fish farms be turned over to the federal government was launched to debate the merits of aquaculture, not constitutional law, a provincial government lawyer said Tuesday.

A group of fish farm critics is mounting a legal challenge to have the responsibility for the farms transferred back to the federal government, which delegated that power to the province in the late 1980s, reports the Canadian Press.

According to the news agency the group says because of the farms' impact on the ocean and wild fish, the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans should regulate them.

But Veronica Jackson, the lawyer for the provincial government, said much of the evidence produced by the complainants focuses on the merits of aquaculture and the effectiveness of existing regulations.

"The complaint of the petitioners is not so much about which level of government has jurisdiction, but rather whether there should be aquaculturein oceans and how the provincial government is regulating them," Jackson told B.C. Supreme Court Judge Grant Burnyeat.

"The public policy decisions involved are not proper matters for the court to adjudicate."

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Ellen Hardy