Protestors refuse to leave Marine Harvest farm
First Nations protestors camping out near the site of a Marine Harvest Canada aquaculture site say they aren’t leaving, despite the company filing for an injunction against the group.
Protestors have camped out at the Midsummer Island farm in British Columbia since early September because of their concern that wild salmon are entering the farm’s pens. The protesters said they plan to stay until the company removes all of its fish from the territorial waters of local First Nations, Molina Dawson, a protester with the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw, told the Vancouver Sun.
A hearing on the injunction is set for 14 November.
On 10 November, Marine Harvest Canada notified the protestors of the salmon supplier’s application for an injunction to “safely remove protesters and their encampments from the worksite,” the company said in a statement provided to SeafoodSource.
“This notice comes after the company’s repeated efforts to seek dialogue with local First Nation leaders for a safe and peaceful resolution to the protest, and after multiple requests that activists not enter the private workplace,” the statement said.
“We are a legitimate and licensed business in British Columbia, and disappointed that some activists have decided not to respect the rights of our employees, many of whom are First Nation, to a safe and harassment-free workplace,” Vincent Erenst, managing director of Marine Harvest Canada, told SeafoodSource.
Stocking of fish is one element of Marine Harvest’s business that it has delayed, “as well as generally impeding our day-to-day jobs, due to continuous harassment and intimidation of our staff,” Ian Roberts, spokesman for Marine Harvest Canada, told SeafoodSource.
Marine Harvest Canada said the protesters are concerned over tenure renewal applications, due June, 2018, for several of the company’s farm sites. The renewal process includes Canadian First Nations’ right to participate in consultation with the provincial government.
“First Nation leadership have made it clear to us that their issue is primarily about indigenous rights and title,” Erenst said. “This important government-to-government discussion needs to occur so our business – and many other businesses in the province – can be given clarity about this process.”