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Marbled murrelet advocates seek court order to block old-growth logging

They want old-growth logging to be prohibited at Fairy Creek.
Marbled murrelet in the care of the Wildlife Rescue Association of BC. Photo: Wildlife Rescue Association of BC

Advocates for the marbled murrelet have launched a court case seeking to halt old-growth logging on southwest Vancouver Island.

The Friends of Fairy Creek Society filed its petition in the B.C. Supreme Court registry in Victoria.

It names respondents as Canada’s attorney general and the federal minister of environment and climate change, as well as B.C.’s attorney general and minister of forests.

The society is seeking a judicial order that the Migratory Birds Act 2022 does not allow “indiscriminate destruction” of nests of these seabirds through logging old growth in tree farm licence 46, which includes Fairy Creek.

Teal Cedar Products Ltd. is authorized to carry out forestry activities in the area near Port Renfrew.

The Fairy Creek area was a focal point for protests against old-growth logging in 2021 and into 2022.

In an updated petition to the court dated Monday, the society said the question is whether logging is exempted from the prohibitions in the bird act regulations.

It maintains that “there is no question that the logging of old growth forests in TFL 46 has damaged and destroyed many of the bird’s (sic) nests.”

Bird protection regulations prohibit damaging, destroying, removing or disturbing nests of migratory birds and bans harassment, the group said.

Marbled murrelets are small seabirds which fly into the forests to nest. They don’t build nests, but rather settle in canopies of old-growth trees, the society said. Birds lay a single egg on a mossy platform in the trees.

Federal and provincial officials and Teal Jones did not immediately provide comments.

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