Tag Archives: Tofino

RCMP Arrest Four Indigenous Protesters For Fish Farm Demonstration

Leonard John, a member of the Ahousaht First Nations, is arrested by RCMP on August 22, 2016. (Yaakswiis Warriors)

Leonard John, a member of the Ahousaht First Nations, is arrested by RCMP on August 22, 2016. (Yaakswiis Warriors)

Protesters were at Dixon Bay fish farm north of Tofino

CBC News Posted: Aug 25, 2016

Four members of the Yaakswiis Warriors — whose members are part of the Ahousaht First Nation — were arrested this week after protesting a fish farm operation north of Tofino.

“We were protecting our water and our land,” said Lennie John, who drove up to the Dixon Bay fish farm — operated by the Cermaq Group — in a “tin can boat.”

“I put my boat where they were going to put the barge down, and they wouldn’t halt. I asked them to stop, and they told me to stay off their channel, that it was their channel.”

John and the other three protesters were arrested and later released on August 23, a day after the protest.

The Yaakswiis Warriors is a group of protesters — the group’s Facebook page says its members are “protecting the Ahousaht Hahoulthee from unnecessary economic development and harmful practices.”

“We will continue our defence of our food sources, our lands and waters and our future generations,” they said in a written statement.

“The RCMP should not be interfering in these matters, by doing so, it is clear that they have overstepped their role by acting as enforcers for corporations against and in violation of the clear rights we have as members of the Ahousaht Nation to our Territories.”

Cermaq is in the process of restocking the farm, which was closed in 2012 after a deadly virus was uncovered.

The protest came days after hereditary chiefs for the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw First Nation served a 72-hour eviction notice for a different fish farm operated by Cermaq.

But in the case of Dixon Bay, many elected officials of the Ahousaht First Nation support Cermaq, and there are 17 fish farms within their territory.

John says the Yaakswiis Warriors disagree with their stance.

“There’s a lot of money coming in, but it’s not coming into our reservation. Housing is short, jobs are short,” he said.

“I have no intentions of doing it again, but they’re putting in our waters illegally a farm that shut down, and operating in a different area, and they don’t have the permission of a lot of our people.”

The RCMP say no charges have yet been laid against the protesters, but the matter has been referred to the crown.


Ahousaht Heroes: First On Scene Of Deadly Whale Boat Accident

Boat carrying 27 capsizes near Tofino

The MV Leviathan II, operated by Jamie’s Whaling Station, had 27 passengers and crew on board at the time of the sinking.


95 per cent of the community’s boats were out there.

Robert Burridge and his wife Patricia, who is a teacher in Ahousaht, were there when the tragedy struck.

“All the boats from Ahousaht left as soon as they heard the distress call. About 95 per cent of the community’s boats were out there.”

Burridge says its typical for the Ahousaht to respond quickly and be the first on scene when there’s a marine emergency.

“They know the waters. They have it in their custom not to leave a body behind. Where other people will wait for it to show up with the RCMP, the Ahousahts are still out there looking.”

Tofino’s mayor, Josie Osborne, says the Ahousaht community always responds to incidents at sea.

“The mobilization is incredible. That’s a community unto itself.

The Ahoushat community immediately sending out about 30 people, seven different boats.

Pleasure craft, commercial craft, anybody who is in the vicinity, is there on scene.”

Burridge says just before the accident the water was fine. “It was a beautiful day. There was some swell but where they say the boat went down it was shallower so maybe the waves were a little higher.”

Osborne says the mood in Tofino is somber, as people struggle to make sense of the tragedy.

The MV Leviathan II, operated by Jamie’s Whaling Station, had 27 passengers and crew on board at the time of the sinking.

The BC Coroner’s Service reports that the five fatalities were all British nationals.

Four men, one woman, their ages ranging from 18 to 76.

Three were tourists; one a resident of Ontario, another was living in British Columbia.

This is not the first fatal incident involving the company,

In 1998, one of its vessels rolled during an excursion, sending all four people on board into the water.

The operator and one of the passengers died.



First Nation Blockades Tofino-Area Salmon Farm

Cermaq owns the open-net salmon farm north of Tofino. | Cermaq Canada

Cermaq owns the open-net salmon farm north of Tofino. | Cermaq Canada.

By The Canadian Press, Posted: 09/10/2015

TOFINO, B.C. — Members of a Vancouver Island First Nation are vowing to risk arrest rather than allow an international fish farming company to anchor an open-net salmon farm north of Tofino.

Members of the Ahousaht First Nation say they set up a boat blockade Wednesday at the site of the new farm, owned by Norwegian-based Cermaq.

The Ahousaht say the company holds 17 salmon farm tenures in Clayoquot Sound and applied for two new tenures in the same area last year.

The First Nation believes the applications signal a new round of fish farm expansion on the West Coast, with the Ahousaht Fish Farm Committee predicting a four-fold increase in the industry over the next 15 years.

Protesters oppose any new fish farms in the area.

They fear possible diseases bred in fish within the open nets could be passed to clam beds or wild salmon travelling to and from nearby spawning rivers.