Protesters detained after illegally boarding wellboat in British Columbia

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Fish farm opponents have been detained after illegally boarding the Marine Harvest, “Orca Chief”, fish carrier to protest at a Canadian shipyard.

The 500 tonne Marine Harvest wellboat, “Orca Chief”, was in a dry dock in Victoria, British Columbia, for repairs.

Police received reports at around 7 a.m. that protesters had illegally entered the shipyard and boarded a vessel with a banner that said “Fish Farms Out!” according to the Salmon Arm Observer.

Police and Marine Harvest representatives were among those gathering outside the vessel. Work at the shipyard ceased during the standoff.

All six protesters were safely removed from the boat by noon after negotiators worked to get them down, according to Victoria police.

MV Orca Chief, Marine Harvest Canada

Marine Harvest spokesperson Jeremy Dunn told the publication that this is the first documented demonstration where protesters have boarded a vessel.

“People in Canada are entitled to their right to free protest, a right to out democracy, and we respect people’s rights to protests.” Dunn said. “That vessel is an important part of our production process, it transports small fish from our hatcheries to our farms… All of our fish go through rigorous health checks and certified by Fisheries and Oceans Canada before they are transferred from our hatchery to our farm.”