“Given the evidence of the intimidation being carried out against Marine Harvest’s employees by the defendants, there is a necessity to have a buffer zone,” Justice Maisonville, BC Supreme Court
The British Columbia Supreme Court has granted Marine Harvest’s application for an injunction to prohibit activists from occupying buildings on Swanson Island or boarding any of the company’s salmon farms and docks.
The injunction today also establishes a buffer zone between the farms and their buoys which activists are not allowed to enter, a company statement said.
“Given the evidence of the intimidation being carried out against Marine Harvest’s employees by the defendants, there is a necessity to have a buffer zone,” the judge ruled.
The judge granted anti-fish farm activist Alexandra Morton a limited exception, allowing her to enter the buffer zone alone in a boat no larger than 2.6 metres for the sole purpose of taking water samples for her research.
Marine Harvest applied for the injunction after activists boarded several farms last year, creating an unsafe work environment for employees, and occupied Marine Harvest buildings on Swanson Island.
“The evidence before the court establishes that there is a high degree of probability that the defendants will continue to cause harm to Marine Harvest through tortious conduct at its other Sites if the injunction is not granted in anticipation of the defendants’ future conduct,” the court ruled.
In her judgement, Justice Maisonville indicated that numerous incidents have occurred at or near Marine Harvests facilities since August 2017 including boarding salmon farms, interfering with the restocking of farms, and yelling at and harassing employees as they attempt to perform their duties.
“We respect the right to peaceful protest, but have a responsibility to protect our employees from harassment and threats. We are thankful that the court has helped to preserve a safe workplace where our farmers can focus on raising healthy fish,” said Jeremy Dunn, Marine Harvest Director of Community Relations & Public Affairs.
Marine Harvest was previously granted an injunction against activists who were occupying its Midsummer Island salmon farm in December 2017. In delivering his decision in December, Justice Voith was clear that those occupying the worksite had harassed Marine Harvest employees, had tampered with Marine Harvest equipment, and at times the number of occupiers had significantly outnumbered the number of workers at the site.
In his decision, the Justice stated: “I consider that the activities of the Defendants that I have described gives rise to real safety issues.”
Marine Harvest Canada operates salmon farms and processing plants in British Columbia, Canada, where 600 people raise 45,000 tonnes of sustainable Atlantic salmon each year. Marine Harvest Canada is part of the Marine Harvest ASA group, the world’s largest producer of Atlantic salmon.