The federal government has been ordered to shore up its regulations to ensure that diseases aren’t transferred from fish farms to the ocean.
A Federal Court in Vancouver has struck down rules around transfer of fish between acquaculture farms and has given the Department of Fisheries four months to fix the regulations.
The decision comes after a biologist accused a fish farm operator of moving diseased salmon smolts from its hatchery to a open pen fish farm on the B.C. coast.
Alexandra Morton asked for the judicial review of the rules after discovering the smolts at farm operated by Marine Harvest Canada tested positive for a certain virus in June 2013.
The environmental group Ecojustice, whose lawyers argued the case, says scientists have identified the virus as that most likely cause of heart and skeletal muscle inflammation in salmon.
The Department of Fisheries told the court during arguments that as many as 120 licences due to expire by the end of the year could be affected by the invalidated regulations.