Kent County chapter expresses solidarity with occupation of fish farms by First Nations

Police at one of the occupation sites, Oct. 13. Photo by Alexandra Morton.

The Council of Canadians Kent County chapter in New Brunswick has expressed solidarity with the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw, Namgis, Mamlilikula. Ma’amtagila and Tlowitsis nations and their occupation of three fish farms situated on their territories in British Columbia without free, prior and informed consent.

The Canadian Press reports, "First Nations occupying several fish farms off the northeast coast of Vancouver Island say tensions are rising after protesters were served with injunctions [on Monday October 16]. A news release from the protesters says RCMP and representatives from Fisheries and Oceans Canada and [Norwegian-owned] fish farm company Marine Harvest have arrived near Alert Bay in the Broughton Archipelago. They say the injunction applications are due to be heard in court [today, Wednesday October 18] but add police have no jurisdiction to remove them and protesters are concerned about the escalation of what they describe as tactical teams in advance of the court hearing."

The chapter states:

Our Council of Canadians' Kent County Chapter members are deeply concerned for the well-being of the Indigenous and Ally Water and Marine Life Protectors who are determined to shut down the toxic fish farms on the west coast. Just four short years ago, we experienced a full-on frontal assault here in our area, when government and industry were determined to force fracking down our throats and into our waterways and soils.

We know what it is like to stand firm against corporations that have no respect for Natural Law and the Environment, and are thinking only about how much money they can make producing a product that destroys local ecosystems.

Full respect to the Peoples who are standing up for the health of our oceans and the creatures that naturally live in them.

We are alarmed by similar circumstances here on the east coast. Many local environmentalists and fishermen have spoken out about the toxic dangers of fish farming, and now we have situations across New Brunswick where we have no natural, wild salmon at all – rivers that were once totally abundant and that could offer recreational and sports fishing that sustainably supports our rural local economies. In the past two years, fishermen cannot even legally fish salmon on these rivers.

Oceans provide sustenance to all life on the planet. We need to keep them healthy and to ensure that the food chain and balance of nature is respected in our coastal areas. There seems to be a foolish old mindset that anything can be done in the ocean, somehow it can absorb mistreatment of the worst sorts – the seas are sort of like the old Wild West in that regard. Anything goes! Well not anymore, species declines and die-offs, temperature changes, etc., stress the oceans enough. Toxic add-ons like mega-aquaculture needs to stop. Too much stress.

Our chapter has been concerned about ocean, coastal and marine life for a long time. This statement that originated from our chapter has been endorsed by 30 chapters of the Council of Canadians and the national office. It was sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asking for a meeting to talk over our concerns in February 2017. He has not responded. When government refuses to come to the table to talk about bona fide concerns, people have a legitimate right to undertake non-violent direct action.

To read that statement, please click here.

For an additional Council of Canadians statement in solidarity with the occupation of the fish farms, please click here.

To retweet our solidarity message, click here.

For more on the occupation and the injunction application, click here.