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First Nation appeals to NAFTA commission on Harper’s violations of Fisheries Act

The Kwikwasu’tinuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation and a number of groups (Including the US-based Center for Biological Diversity and the Environmental Law Clinic, as well as the Pacific Coast Wild Salmon Society) are challenging the Harper government’s failure to enforce the Fisheries Act – specifically in relation to fish farms on the Pacific Coast – using  a side agreement in the North American Free Trade Agreement. 

The Canadian Press reports, “The groups claim Ottawa is exposing wild salmon to sea lice, disease, toxic chemicals and concentrated waste (through fish farms). …According to their submission, the complainants want the Commission (for Environmental Co-operation, which was established through NAFTA) to write what’s known as a factual record on the issue.”

“The complainants argue the federal government isn’t enforcing two sections of the Fisheries Act. …Section 35, they argue, prohibits any work or undertaking that results in harmful alteration or disruption to fish habitat without valid authorization. …(And) Section 36, which prohibits the deposit of deleterious substances in water frequented by fish unless a deposit is authorized by regulation.”

Environment Canada has written the commission asking that it terminate the proceedings. “The commission has now written back asking for further explanation within 30 working days and has a set final deadline of Dec. 17.”