Fish farm protesters removed from Marine Harvest vessel in Victoria

Fish farm protesters removed from Marine Harvest vessel in Victoria
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WATCH: Police were called to the Point Hope shipyard Wednesday morning after fish-farm protesters boarded a vessel. Calvin To reports.

Six people calling themselves “wild salmon defenders” have been removed from a vessel owned by fish farm corporation Marine Harvest Canada.

The protesters boarded the “Orca Chief” Wednesday morning at around 7 a.m. at the Point Hope Maritime shipyard in Victoria and laid out a banner reading “Fish Farms Out”.The vessel’s home port is in Nanaimo.

Victoria police were at the scene and had discussions with the protestors on the vessel. By 12 p.m., all the protestors were removed and arrested, including one who taped herself to the ship.

Riccardo Regosa, general manager of Point Hope Maritime, said the six protesters entered the shipyard without permission and refused to leave when asked. Police were called after the protesters boarded the vessel.

“These individuals trespassed and this type of behaviour will not be tolerated. The safety of our employees and the privacy of our clients are our priorities. While an incident such as this has never happened before, we are upgrading our site security to 24 hours. Until this morning, we had security on throughout the night from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. with staff managing site access for the remainder of the day,” Regosa said.

Regosa said the Marine Harvest vessel was not damaged and Point Hope will undergo a review. One hundred employees work at the Point Hope Shipyard.

Marine Harvest Canada operates open-net fish farms in the Broughton Archipelago, off the northeast coast of Vancouver Island.

First Nations and environmentalists have protested against fish farms along the B.C. coast saying they did not dot get consent from First Nations to operate in their waters and pose a risk to wild salmon stocks.

Fish farm opponents have put pressure on the NDP government to shut them down.

In June, the province gave fish farm operators four years to satisfy Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) that the practice doesn’t impact wild salmon stocks and to negotiate agreements with local First Nations to be granted Land Act tenures beyond June 2022.

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