Defense says Douglas Lake lacked proper licenses

By Chad Klassen
January 23, 2017 - 1:00pm Updated: January 24, 2017 - 4:42am

KAMLOOPS — Cross-examination of the long-time general manager of the Douglas Lake Cattle Company wrapped up today at BC Supreme Court in Kamloops. 

Joe Gardner was questioned by defense, the Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club, which argued Gardner has acted in defiance of provincial laws in claiming there is no public access to Minnie and Stoney Lakes near Merritt. 

Defense pointed out that the company didn't have an aquaculture license from 2003 through 2012, because Gardner never had a proper containment facility for his fishery, releasing the fish for the company's recreational fishing business. 

Defense asked Gardner, during that period he didn't have an aquaculture license, did he continue to insist the fish were private, owned by the ranch? Gardner responded with a resounding 'yes.'

But the Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club, the defendants, claim that under the aquaculture license, fish were not permitted to be swimming freely in either Minnie or Stoney Lakes, and if they were, they became public.

Expert witnesses, including a fish biologist, take the stand in the trial all this week. 

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