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A banner was display on the bow of the Orca Chief by protesters. Photo: TimesColonist
A banner was display on the bow of the Orca Chief by protesters. Photo: TimesColonist

A Canadian shipyard has stepped up security measures after anti-salmon farming activists boarded the Marine Harvest Canada wellboat Orca Chief while it was in dry-dock in Victoria, Vancouver Island, last week.

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The protesters entered the Point Hope Maritime shipyard and boarded the vessel around 7am last Wednesday.

Police negotiators encouraged the protesters to disembark the vessel. After a few hours of negotiations three protesters surrendered, while the last few were removed by Victoria police. There were six arrests.

In a statement the company said: "Marine Harvest Canada is thankful that the Victoria police were quick to respond and brought this incident to a conclusion in a safe and respectful manner." 

The vessel was at Point Hope shipyard for regular maintenance. It is used to transport salmon fry to Marine Harvest farms.

No damage

Marine Harvest public affairs director Jeremy Dunn said crews were inspecting the Orca Chief. “At this point we don’t believe there was any damage done," he said, adding that it was up to Victoria Police and the Crown to decide whether to press charges.  

Since the incident Point Hope shipyard now has 24-hour security to protect staff and property.

Marine Harvest Canada operates salmon farms on the coast of British Columbia and Vancouver Island where they produce 45,000 tonnes of farm-raised Atlantic salmon each year. 

British Columbia’s current New Democratic Party (NDP) government and some First Nations groups have opposed the open-net fish farms operated by Marine Harvest and the area’s other salmon farmers, Grieg and Cermaq.

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