November 21, 2017 – Today marks 90 days of the fish farm occupation at Swanson Island, in the Broughton Archipelago. Today is also World Fisheries Day! On August 24, 2017 the occupation at Marine Harvest’s Swanson Island fish farm site was started. Midsummer fish farm site occupation has now been relocated to land following a Court decision forcing Karissa Glendale and Molina Dawson and their supporters off the site. The Matriarch Camp at Premier John Horgan’s office has also been relocated to DFO offices at 4250 Commerce Circle in Victoria. The occupation efforts by members of the Mamalilikala, Namgis, Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw, Ma’amtagila Nations and their supporters remain determined to remove fish farming from the Broughton Archipelago. Occupiers continue to observe and document the disturbing practices of the aquaculture industry.
“Today a significant weather storm has caused flooding on the Island highway, power outages, and BC Ferry cancelations, yet our members stand strong against all adversity, and are determined to remain on the land camps adjacent to these protested fish farm sites. The solution is very simple! We ask the Governments to cancel these permits, and send our members home”
Only a few First Nations have signed agreements with Marine Harvest or Cermaq. Meanwhile, in those 30 years the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw have never given their consent, and have actively protested the fish farm Industry. The occupiers have committed to stay near the farms to monitor and document farm operations until the Provincial Licences of occupation are not renewed or canceled. Karissa, Molina and Ernest appeared in a Vancouver Supreme Courtroom on November 14th, and while hearings may have provided time and space for Marine Harvest, the case is adjourned until December 14th when they are expected to reappear, with plans to rally supporters outside the Vancouver Courtroom. It is likely Marine Harvest will use this time provided by the Courts to restock the disputed sites, against the wishes of First Nations, and warnings from the Provincial Government, all under watchful eyes.
Tsastilqualus Ambers at the “Matriarch Camp” celebrated her 64th birthday, away from her grandchildren, at the occupation site outside of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans offices, in Victoria. “We are fighting for the protection of our way of life. We are salmon people. Without wild salmon, the Kwakwaka’wakw people do not exist. Our rivers are dying, our people are dying – we have no choice. We are fighting to protect who we are.”
– Tsastilqualus Ambers
Since August 24th letters of support have poured in from over 100 First Nations in BC. Emails of support continue to flood in from around the world including The United States, Germany, Italy, France, the UK and Norway. Solidarity is strong among First Nations from one end of the Coast to the other, from Haida Gwaii to Washington State.
We ask that letters of support be sent to both Federal and Provincial Governments supporting the occupation and calling for the cancellations of these permits. Minister Dominic LeBlanc (DFO) must uphold the law and not allow the aquaculture Industry to place diseased Atlantic Salmon in our oceans. Stand with us to end the threat of pollution and salmon disease in the Broughton Archipelago by having your voices heard.
For more information and updates visit our Facebook page “Swanson Occupation” and make a financial contribution to help the cause and the ongoing legal costs. We want to thank everyone for all of their support throughout the last 90 days. Together, speaking up, writing, and communicating to the world that we don’t have time to wait. Remove the fish farms now!