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

More burning prohibitions rescinded in southeast B.C.

Category 2 and 3 fires will be permitted in Southeast Fire Centre as of 1p.m. on Wednesday.

Cops For Kids’ southeast B.C. tour rolls on

Annual RCMP fundraiser will see 34 cyclists ride 1,000 kilometres raising funds

Municipal spending outpaces population growth 4-fold in B.C.: report

Canadian Federation of Independent Business has released its annual operational spending report

B.C. parents leery of HPV cervical cancer vaccine

Provincial registration uptake among lowest in Canada

Winlaw preemie survives smoky birth

GoFundMe Campaign started for West Kootenay family with preemie baby.

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

B.C. home to 1/3 of Canada’s overdose deaths in first 3 months of the year

There were 1,036 overdose deaths in the first three months of the year, with 94 per cent accidental

B.C. candidate moves from hospice care to council race

He beat terminal cancer twice and entered hospice when he decided to run for council.

Canadian tobacco exec pushes back against vaping health concerns

A warning from Interior Health about the unknown health risks of vaping is getting a partial rebuke

Ministry of Agriculture commits $300,000 to help B.C. farmers obtain land

B.C. Land Matching Program supports access to affordable farmland for young farmers

Canadian air force short 275 pilots

Attrition outpaces recruitment and training claims Air Force

Teacher suspended after physically shushing, saying ‘shut up’ to student

Grade 5 student reported feeling ‘confused and a little scared’

A B.C. society helps to reforest Crown land after wildfires

Forest Enhancement Society of BC focuses on wildfire mitigation and the reforestation

B.C. marijuana workers may face U.S. border scrutiny

Cannabis still illegal federally south of the border

Most Read