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Fish farm foes demand province-wide shutdown

by murray bush - flux photo & Sharon Kravitz

Fish farm foes demand province-wide shutdown
Lower Nicola Band Chief Aaron Sam
Union of BC Indian Chiefs Grand Chief Stuart Philip
Fish farm foes demand province-wide shutdown
Alliance spokesman Eddie Gardner
Fish farm foes demand province-wide shutdown
Fish farm foes demand province-wide shutdown
Fish farm foes demand province-wide shutdown
Fish farm foes demand province-wide shutdown
Fish farm foes demand province-wide shutdown
Fish farm foes demand province-wide shutdown
Fish farm foes demand province-wide shutdown
Fish farm foes demand province-wide shutdown
Tsartlip Chief Don Tom
Fish farm foes demand province-wide shutdown

COAST SALISH TERRITORIES -  Indigenous leaders and other opponents of fish farms rallied outside a BC NDP meeting in downtown Vancouver today. They called for a shutdown of the farms to protect wild salmon stocks from sea lice, disease and algae blooms.

Speakers also called for continued support of two fish farm occupations underway on the North end of Vancouver Island. Protest organizers from the Wild Salmon Defenders Alliance say the event was to show solidarity with Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw, Namgis and Mamallikulla people who are occupying two open-net-pen fish farms. They say they are asserting sovereignty  over their unceded territory and fishing resources and will occupy those fish farms until they are shut down.

Sto:lo activist and Wild Salmon Defenders' Alliance spokesperson Eddie Gardner warned that wild salmon stocks are being devastated by Department of Fisheries policies and the provincially-licensed fish farms.  He vowed activists will escalate their opposition to do "whatever it takes" to protect the sacred salmon.

 The mid-day protest was held outside a meeting of the new BC NDP Cabinet with Indigenous leaders. Indigneous relations minister Scott Fraser came out of the meeting and addressed the crowd but gave no definitive position on fish farming. Fraser did cite the importance of  "jobs created by fish farming" on the West Coast as a major consideration for decisions his new government will make.

Speakers included Chief Willie Moon of Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw, Chief Bob Chamberlin, Kwicksut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation, Chief Wayne Christian of Shuswap Nation Tribal Council and Chief Aaron Sam, Lower Nicola Indian Band and Union of BC Indian Chiefs Grand Chief Stuart Philip.

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