4 face charges opposing fish farms in Ahousaht
Statement by Crow, Ancestral Pride, August 24, 2016
By now many have been informed of the opposition towards Cermaq fish farm Dixon Bay site where a small group of people in a vessel tried to prevent the barge transporting smolts of Atlantic salmon to the Dixon Bay site. Three individuals were detained by RCMP and then released upon promise to appear November 7th in Tofino. Another individual was served papers to appear in court the same day.
The Dixon Bay fish farm site in 2012 was devastated by the Infectious Haematopoietic Necrosis (IHN) that killed off more than half a million farmed fish at that site. Cermaq culled the entire site removed all equipment and nets.
In September 2015 Cermaq began setting up a fish farm at Yaakswiis Millar channel. Ahousaht vessels and members set out to stop the barge bringing workers and a crane to secure the fish farm structure towards being operational. The barge was turned away and several Yaakswiis warriors occupied the structure for two weeks so as to prevent site from being anchored and set up. Cermaq had stated it had license and permits from government to operate as well as agreement with Hawiia(Chiefs). Ahousaht members were opposed to the Yaakswiis site as it is a ecological sensitive area that has an abundance of sea food within the area as well as a salmon bearing river. Cermaq had stated this was a replacement site for the Dixon Bay site that had been shut down due to the IHN virus. That this was not an expansion of more fish farms within our territory. The Yaakswiis site was removed after two weeks. Cermaq set the structure up at other operational farms within the territory.
August 22, 2016 Cermaq transports barge loaded with Atlantic smolts to Dixon Bay site, how is it that Cermaq is permitted to continue operations at a site that contaminated the waters in an area designated pristine area? The fact the same structures from Yaakswiis site are being utilized. Cermaq gets to have a massive die off from IHN then sit void only to continue business as usual.
Under the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People. Free Prior Informed Consent. Indigenous people must be consulted and give consent regarding industry within indigenous territory. Indigenous people have the right deny any activity upon our territory that may have a negative impact upon land and life.
Yet here we are being arrested and facing charges for standing up in opposition towards fish farms. Cermaq is using colonial laws to suppress any opposition. Fish Farms have the RCMP, government and our leadership at their disposal, this is the continuation of the violence of colonialism
We have an obligation to live up to our roles and responsibilities to the land, waters and future generations. In the spirit of resistance.