Samantha Matthews (left) taped herself to the mast of the Orca Chief vessel at Point Hope Shipyard Wednesday morning in protest of fish farming. Here, a member of the Victoria Fire Department helps to get her down. Nicole Crescenzi/VICTORIA NEWS

VIDEO: Fish farm protester on Vancouver Island tapes herself to ship

Six people arrested after taking over a Marine Harvest’s vessel at Point Hope Shipyard in Victoria

Six people were arrested Wednesday morning after performing a demonstration against fish farming at the Point Hope Shipyard in Vic West.

Representatives from Fish Farms Out Now and the Matriarch Camp snuck onto the shipyard property around 7 a.m. and boarded the Orca Chief vessel by climbing some nearby scaffolding. They hung banners that read “Fish Farms Out!” and spoke over the megaphone in protest of the vessel’s role in transporting farmed salmon through B.C. waters.

“I’ve always wanted to be on this ship, so it feels good!” said matriarch grandmother Tsastilqualus Ambers Umbas into the megaphone. “We’ve just been told we’re trespassing, well what are they doing on our waters?”

The groups are calling for an end to open-net fish farming.

One woman, Samantha Matthews, taped herself to the mast on top of the ship.

Supporter Noah Stewart reported that the people on board targeted the ship because of its role in fish farming.

“The ship is a well-known transporter of thousands of tonnes of diseased and poisons farmed salmon and carries them every day to and from marine harvest fish farms on unceded first nations territories,” Stewart said ” This vessel cannot with any ethical sense be put back into the water for the purpose it’s been used. In addition the fish farms its been serving needs to be stopped immediately.”

By 8:45 a.m., Victoria Police spokesperson Const. Matt Rutherford said three protesters had already been arrested; protest supporters stated that one of these people was Umbas’ son.

“We attended, and after some initial conversation three of them eventually came down,” Rutherford said. “They were all arrested for mischief. Several other resources were brought in, as well as our crisis negotiators.”

The ship is owned by Marine Harvest Canada, a company demonstrators said is destroying salmon by allowing diseases and parasites to be passed from farmed salmon to wild stock.

Marine Harvest spokesperson Jeremy Dunn said this is the first documented demonstration where protesters boarded a vessel.

“People in Canada are entitled to their right to free protest, a right to out democracy, and we respect people’s rights to protests.” Dunn said. “That vessel is an important part of our production process, it transports small fish from our hatcheries to our farms… All of our fish go through rigorous health checks and certified by Fisheries and Oceans Canada before they are transferred from our hatchery to our farm.”

The general manager of Point Hope Maritime Ltd., the company operating the shipyard, Riccardo Regoassa was away in Germany. In an email his representative, Penny Wilde, released the following statement on his behalf:

“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,” Wilde said. “Until this morning, we had security on throughout the night from 6pm to 6am with staff managing site access for the remainder of the day. We are grateful to the Victoria Police Department and the Victoria Fire Department for their prompt response and professionalism to ensure the safe removal of the trespassers.”

She noted that there appeared to be no damage done to the vessel.

Shortly before noon, all six protesters had been removed.

The Victoria Fire Department used a large ladder to reach Matthews, who was the last person to be arrested after being safely removed from the mast.

Nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Tsastilqualus Ambers Umbas (below) protests on the megaphone, saying “They say we’re trespassing, well what are they doingo on our waters?” Meanwhile, Samantha Matthews taped herself to the Orca Chief’s mast in protest of fish farming. Nicole Crescenzi/VICTORIA NEWS

At least three protesters are on board the Orca Chief ship at Point Hope Shipyard in direct action against fish-farms. (Nicole Crescenzi/Victoria News)

Just Posted

Forestry workers set to begin job action in Kootenays

Operations in Castlegar, Cranbrook, Galloway, Elko, Radium, Golden may see job action this week.

Grand Forks high school students remember

The school and the Legion joined for the annual Remembrance Day ceremony.

Children’s books needed for Christmas hampers

Considering donating some books this Christmas.

Crowd gathers at Phoenix memorial for Remembrance Day

The small group shared remembrances around the campfire.

Castlegar pastors find life in wheelchair a challenge

The men found the obstacles were both physical and mental.

Trudeau offers to help Pacific islands face climate change impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea

Price makes 36 saves as Habs edge Canucks 3-2

Late goal lifts Montreal past Vancouver

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

5 B.C. cities break temperature records

Parts of B.C. remain warm, at 10 C, while others feeling chilly

Most Read