According to a statement by MH Canada, the injunction also establishes a buffer zone between the farms and their buoys which activists are not allowed to enter, the judge - Justice Maisonville - stating that: “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 granted a limited exception to veteran anti-salmon farming campaigner Alexandra Morton, 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 what the company said was an unsafe work environment for employees, and occuping Marine Harvest buildings on Swanson Island. The court found that “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”.
In her judgement Justice Maisonville indicated that numerous incidents have occurred at or near Marine Harvest’s 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.
Jeremy Dunn, MH Canada’s director of community relations and public affairs, said: “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.”
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.”