In late August, a salmon farm near Alert Bay, BC was "occupied" by First Nations activists. Now, another Marine Harvest-affiliated farm in Swanson Island has been swarmed by protesters!
And this time, it’s not just the farm but also the office of NDP Agriculture Minister and MLA for Saanich South, Lana Popham.
Perhaps the activists are emboldened with a Green-supported NDP government in charge.
We have First Nations protesting over aboriginal rights and land title claims, while radical environmental activists like Alexandra Morton and Sea Shepherd Society latch onto the protest for their own self interests.
The irony is, Marine Harvest Canada has made every effort to discuss the issues with the First Nations who occupy both farms.
The good news is the 'Namgis First Nations are engaging with the company, ending their occupation. They've left an observer behind to witness how the company harvests the farmed salmon and how they can separate small wild fish like herring to release them back into the wild.
This is an extremely positive development as were some of the comments made by 'Namgis First Nations Chief Don Svanvik who told the North Island Gazette,
“Let’s have the truth, lay it on the table, and if it turns out fish farms aren’t doing anything and something else is, let’s find out what that is."
Policies backed by science are good and the fact is, when done correctly, open net salmon farming is safe to the environment, wild stocks, and provides affordable fresh salmon year round.
And let's not discount the thousands of jobs the industry provides for many First Nations.
While Premier Horgan is supportive of the industry according to Marine Harvest Canada sources, I’m not sure how honest other NDP MLA's are, and whether they’ll stand up for the industry when faced with protests in their own offices.
It remains to be seen if the NDP will cave to activist pressure.