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

GOWN UP to raise $10m for Surrey Memorial Hospital upgrades

The money will be used to upgrade 10 operating rooms, buy cutting-edge equipment and recruit more top-notch surgeons

Lord Tweedsmuir downs Seaquam in high school football

The Panthers improve to 3-1, move into a tie for second in the Eastern Conference

Canucks’ Diwali Night game gives Surrey’s Heer the thrill of DJ-ing for his favourite team

‘It should be a good game with (Alexander) Ovechkin in town’ on Oct. 25, says Jovan Heer

UPDATED: British couple vacationing in Vancouver detained in US after ‘accidentally’ crossing border

CBP claims individuals were denied travel authorization, crossing was deliberate

‘A monumental step’: Surrey Food Bank finds new, much larger home in Newton

The charity is expected to make the move next summer

ELECTION 2019: Climates strikes push environment to top of mind for federal leaders

Black Press Media presents a three-part series on three big election issues

Potent power play paces Canucks to 5-1 win over Detroit

Miller nets a pair as Vancouver wins third straight

After losing two baby boys, B.C. parents hope to cut through the taboo of infant death

Oct. 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in B.C.

Cheating husband sues mistress for gifted ring after wife learns about affair

The husband gave his mistress $1,000 to buy herself a ring in December 2017

B.C. massage therapist reprimanded, fined for exposing patients’ breasts

Registered massage therapist admits professional misconduct

B.C. boosts legal aid funding in new payment contract

‘Duty counsel’ service restored in some communities, David Eby says

Rugby Canada helps recovery efforts in Japan after typhoon cancels final match

Canadian players wanted to “give back in whatever small way they could”

$100,000 reward for B.C. gangster extended to United States

Police belive fugitive Conor D’Monte may be in the Los Angeles area

Emily Carr University closed Sunday after fire causes some damage

The school is working with Vancouver police to assist their investigation into the fire

Most Read