Court hears Cermaq, Marine Harvest bids to ban protesters

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Judges in a British Columbia courthouse heard arguments from lawyers for protesters’ and salmon farmers at the weekend, as court injunctions filed by Cermaq and Marine Harvest were served in the same afternoon, online APTN News Saturday has reported.

B.C.’s Supreme Court judges examined injunctions filed under the Province’s labor legislation, after both companies faced activists boarding their fish farms at Port McNeill, on the north side of Vancouver Island, and at Burdwood, in the channels off Johnstone Strait, west of the Island.

“Activists from all over BC have come out to show their support in a variety of ways,” said Karissa Glendale, a visibly quite young activist present at the hearings. If approved, the companies’ injunctions could lead to the arrest of protesters implicated in demonstrations.

Cermaq had cited two incidents on its salmon farms over the course of week. Marine Harvest was reacting to “tents and structures” erected by protesters on its Midsummer aquaculture site, and its injunction in November came “after the company’s repeated efforts to seek dialogue with local First Nation leaders for a safe and peaceful resolution to protest, and after multiple requests that activists not enter the private worksite”.

First Nations, a Canadian designation for indigenous people, had claimed “the right to participate” in consultations over Marine Harvest’s permits to operate in B.C. At Cermaq’s sites, what seemed a protest against tainted salmon revealed itself to potentially also be about First Nations’ shellfish farming rights in the same waterway.