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

Revelstoke Forestry Museum’s River Side Forest Walk ready for exploring

The trail is almost done but the interpretive signs aren’t up yet

Phone scam uses false RCMP ID on call display

North Okanagan RCMP say there are applications that allow people to change, hide call display info

Sister of plane crash victim that went missing near Revelstoke starting support network

Tammy Neron wants to help families who are searching for missing people

Meet the new reporter at Revestoke Review

Liam Harrap comes to us from Edson, Alta.

Enrolment up in Revelstoke School District

107 Kindergarten kids this year compared to 70-85 in previous years

VIDEO: Rare close encounter with whale pod spotted off B.C. waters

Pod of southern resident orca whales breach within arms length of whale watchers

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Dead B.C. motorcyclist was member of group that raced down mountain road

Some group members record their rides on Strathcona Parkway and post times to page

Indigenous athletes in spotlight at BC Sports Hall of Fame

New gallery to feature Carey Price, Kaila Mussel and Richard Peter

Okanagan College student population climbs

Enrolment up nearly 14 per cent

B.C. couple who went missing on flight from Edmonton named by family

Family released a statement Wednesday saying they’re still intent on finding the two-seater plane

Coldstream supports Okanagan College Campus residence project

Project would see a 100-bed residence on the Vernon campus in Coldstream

VIDEO: A close look at what you were breathing during the B.C. wildfire season

Electron microscope images show soot and tar particles generated by worst B.C. fire season

Okanagan show supports youth mental health, suicide prevention

Robb Nash will be performing Oct. 2 and 3 at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre

Most Read