British Columbia Premier John Horgan met with 40 leaders, both hereditary and elected, gathered in Alert Bay where they told the B.C. leader they were united in their opposition to fish farms.
The premier and representatives of the Mamalilikala, 'Namgis, Tlowitsis, Mamtagila, and Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw (Dzawada’enuxw, Kwiḵwa̱sut̓inux̱w, Ha̱xwa’mis and Gwawaenuk) met in the bighouse, a ceremonial place of the Kwakwaka’wakw.
The opposition to open-net fish farms in the Broughton Archipelago was strongly asserted, reads a press statement. They say fish farms continue to operate within their territories without their consent.
It was repeatedly expressed that the government needs to live up to their legal obligations, and their commitment to honor the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Leadership also conveyed respect and appreciation of the peaceful occupation that has been occurring for over forty (40) days on the two fish farms in the area by members of their Nations.
The occupiers are demanding
• No restocking of existing empty pens/sites;
• No use of hydrogen peroxide to be used to treat sea lice infestations;
• No renewal of licences and/or tenures; and
• For the industry to remove all open-net cage fish farms sites from the collective territorial waters.
The ‘Namgis First Nation operates a closed-containment aquaculture site called Kuterra, and provided a presentation on this “environmentally sustainable option that can be characterized as an opportunity to be a world leader with appropriate supports provided to other emerging industry evolution.”
Despite the lack of commitment from the Premier to remove open-net cages from the nations’ traditional territories, he did commit to meet with a delegation to continue discussions in support of wild salmon in the future.
On Saturday, the occupiers are inviting all wild salmon nations to join them at Swanson Island. See the Facebook Event Page https://goo.gl/tuPDQw