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Concept of Fishery Questioned in Supreme Court

CANADA - The concept of a fishery was questioned yesterday at the Supreme Court of British Columbia as part of the constitutional challenge to the province's authority to regulate fish farms.

According to the Globe and Mail, if the challenge is accepted, the responsibility would return to the federal government under the Fisheries Act.

Representing co-respondent Marine Harvest, an international company and the largest aquaculture facility in B.C., Christopher Harvey argued that the concept of a fishery was separate from that of aquaculture, and to term the latter a fishery would be unnatural. He suggested that a salmon grown in a fish farm was as close to being part of a wild fishery as a barnyard chicken to a wild fowl, reports the Globe and Mail.

The newsagency said that Gregory J McDade, counsel for the petitioners, argued otherwise. “How do you drop one to two million fish into the ocean and pretend they don't exist?” he countered. “That is what is unnatural. Those fish are fish. The ocean is a resource - one resource - and it would be unnatural to consider it anything else.”

Speaking afterwards, Mr. McDade said he was pleased with how the week had gone. “I think we had a very good hearing,” he said. “The judge clearly gets the issues.”

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Ellen Hardy

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