Canadian Tribes Fight Big Fish Farms in Court

Fish farms off Canada’s west coast are under fire from native tribes that claim the big aquaculture operations are devastating the natural environment. Four tribes living in the Broughton Archipelago, off the coast of British Columbia north of Vancouver Island, are going to court to curb the spread of aquaculture, citing Canada’s constitutional obligation to protect natives’ fishing rights. Tribal leaders contend that the 30-some salmon farms in the archipelago, which consist of huge floating cages containing large numbers of fish, have spread disease to wild fish and decimated local pink salmon runs. Natives also argue that a pesticide the farms use harms crustaceans, and that an orange foam caused by the farms clogs beaches and suffocates clam beds. Officials with the multinational corporations that operate the farms deny responsibility for significant environmental damage.