Judge Upholds Acquittal Of Salmon Escape

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
19 October 2007, at 1:00am

CANADA - A B.C. Supreme Court judge has tossed out the Crown's appeal of the acquittal of a Vancouver Island fish farm charged in the accidental release of Atlantic salmon three years ago.

Marine Harvest Canada, formerly Stolt Sea Farm, faced three counts under the federal and provincial fisheries legislation in the July 2004 escape of 1,587 farm salmon.

But the company was acquitted in provincial court and Justice Loryl Russell on Thursday upheld the acquittal, ruling the Crown had not demonstrated the company was negligent.

Provincial court Judge Brian Saunderson earlier this year accepted Marine Harvest's defence that despite failing to prevent the fish escape, it had operated the fish farm with due diligence.

The company argued it had taken all necessary and reasonable steps through its required training, procedures and "zero tolerance" policy on escapes to ensure that such a thing didn't happen.

Company officials testified the crew of the Sargaunts's Pass site were trained in procedures to inspect net-pens for holes before fish were put into them and encouraged to report any breach of procedures.