Court orders activists to leave Swanson Island, salmon farms
Injunction hearing set for June 25
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 17, 2018 – Campbell River, B.C.
Today, the British Columbia Supreme Court ordered activists who have been occupying Marine Harvest’s houses on Swanson Island, located east of Port McNeill, to remove their belongings by 6 p.m. Saturday May 19. The court also ordered activists not to board or interfere with any of Marine Harvest’s salmon farms operating in the area.
This order was made pending a June 25 hearing of an application by Marine Harvest for a broader injunction order.
The injunction order specifically requires Mr. Ernest Alfred and Ms. Karissa Glendale to vacate and remain off the Swanson houses and dock which they have occupied for months, and which belong to Marine Harvest, pending the upcoming hearing. Mr. Alfred and Ms. Glendale were also ordered to remain off 12 other Marine Harvest farms and related sites they, or others have previously occupied.
Finally, Mr. Alfred and Ms. Glendale were ordered to tell others, including those who have been occupying marine harvest installations on Swanson island, that they need to vacate Marine Harvest’s installations and remain off the other Marine Harvest facilities until the matter is further considered by the court on June 25. If anyone occupies any of Marine Harvest’s facilities between now and June 25, Marine Harvest has the right to return to court on 48 hours’ notice.
“In Canada everyone has the right to peaceful protest, but not when it interferes with legitimate activities or crosses the line into aggressive, bullying behaviour. We asked for a court injunction after our employees endured many months of aggressive protest activities and Marine Harvest made numerous attempts at dialogue with protest organizers, which were rebuffed. Our staff must be able to work in a safe environment, free of harassment and intimidation,” says Jeremy Dunn, Marine Harvest Director of Community Relations & Public Affairs. “Meaningful dialogue with First Nations in the Broughton Archipelago, where we have been operating salmon farms for 30 years, remains a priority for Marine Harvest. Unfortunately, our efforts to date have not been successful, but we remain hopeful.”
Marine Harvest has reached agreements with 15 First Nations, and approximately 20 per cent of its workforce is of First Nations heritage.
Marine Harvest was previously granted an injunction against activists who were occupying its Midsummer Island salmon farm in December 2017. In delivering his decision in December, The Honourable Mr. Justice Voth was clear that those occupying the worksite had harassed Marine Harvest employees, had tampered with Marine Harvest equipment, and at times the number of occupiers had significantly outnumbered the number of workers at the site. In his decision the Justice stated: “I consider that the activities of the Defendants that I have described gives rise to real safety issues.”
- Swanson Island salmon farm tenure and aquaculture licence were issued in 1990, and the farm operates with licenses granted by the Province of B.C. and Canada.
- The current Provincial tenure licence for Swanson was granted in 2013, after five years of Crown consultation with the ‘Namgis First Nation.
- Over the past decade, Marine Harvest has collaborated with the ‘Namgis First Nation on science projects, has supplied juvenile salmon to the Nation-owned land-based salmon farm, and continues to seek regular dialogue.
- Marine Harvest Canada has a track record of collaboration with First Nation partners – with some agreements dating back 20 years. The company operates within the traditional territories of 24 First Nations and has formal agreements with 15 of these Nations and eight First Nation-owned businesses
- Approximately 20 per cent of the Marine Harvest Canada workforce is of First Nations heritage.
About Marine Harvest Canada:
Marine Harvest Canada operates salmon farms and processing plants in British Columbia, Canada, where 600 people raise 45,000 tonnes of sustainable Atlantic salmon each year. Marine Harvest Canada is part of the Marine Harvest ASA group, the worlds largest producer of Atlantic salmon.
Further information at marineharvest.ca