Molina Dawson and Karissa Glendale are vowing to continue their fight against the fish farm industry despite a British Columbia Supreme Court ruling that granted injunctions to two companies against them.
The province’s highest court has granted Marine Harvest Canada and Cermaq Canada injunctions at four different salmon farms north of Vancouver Island.
This means Dawson, Glendale and a number of other First Nation protestors must stay away or face being arrested.
But they say the injunctions won’t stop them.
“We are going to continue being out in the water in our territory so we can see what the fish farms are doing and keep an eye on them regardless of the injunctions,” said Dawson.
“Even the sites that have been granted injunctions, we can still be watching them, we just can’t go in a certain perimeter.”
Although Justice Peter Voith’s Dec. 22 verdict is a victory for the fish farm industry, activists who are fighting the farms feel they’re winning when it comes to gaining attention from the province’s newly elected NDP government.
“This is not a defeat, we have achieved many successes,” said Dawson.
In the last few months, Premier John Horgan committed to protecting wild salmon at a meeting with First Nations in Alert Bay.
Horgan appointed his top deputy, Don Wright, to investigate the integrity of the province’s Animal Health Centre after allegations of a conflict of interest were made by Dr. Kristi Miller-Saunders, a federal scientist.
And the province is now reviewing regulations covering fish processing plants after footage of potentially dangerous blood water was released by activist, Tavish Campbell.
Watch Laurie Hamelin talk about injunction with Host Rick Harp
But Chief Bob Chamberlain, Vice-President of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, says the fight is far from over.
“This is not over by any stretch of the imagination,” he said. “We need to continue to keep pressure on our government.”
A collective of First Nations in B.C’s Broughton Archipelago want open-net salmon farms gone.
They say they have been operating without their consent for 30 years.
And it’s the province that has the power to pull the fish farms licenses.
Their licenses are up for renewal this summer.
Chamberlain says First Nations will be meeting with the province later this month.
“We now have a date penciled in with the provincial government for January 30th,” he said. “Then we’ll get our initial official response from government, and from there we are going to be advancing government to government negotiations on this.
“We fully expect negotiations on this subject will and must be grounded in free, prior and informed consent.”