Leah Ritch, of Fish Farms Out Now, protests a speech by Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Dominic LeBlanc, at a celebration marking the arrival of the Canada C3 expedition in Victoria Oct. 28. Kristyn Anthony/VICTORIA NEWS

Fish farm protestors challenge Minister of Fisheries and Oceans

Peaceful protest leads to conversation between fish farm opponents and Minister LeBlanc

Protesters calling for the shutdown of fish farms interrupted a speech by Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Dominic LeBlanc on the dock of Victoria’s inner harbour Saturday.

Joined by Minster of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna, LeBlanc addressed a crowd gathered for the arrival of Canada C3, a vessel ending its 150-day voyage through the Northwest Passage. The Canada 150 signature project set sail June 1 from Toronto in an effort to improve education around reconciliation and science and research for Canada’s oceans.

The two ministers were invited to speak to announce the federal government had reached its 2017 conservation goal of designating five per cent of Canada’s oceans as protected areas.

But that announcement was interrupted by a peaceful protest by a group called Fish Farms Out Now.

Protester Leah Ritch called LeBlanc “the biggest barrier we’ve got” saying if he was serious about the issue, action would have already been taken.

“He hasn’t really been vocally opposed to fish farms in the media and in his platform,” she said.

After his speech, LeBlanc met with Ritch and fellow protester Greg Horne to speak about issues facing Indigenous communities at risk of losing their salmon stock as a result of open-net fish farms.

“These nations have been waiting 30 years for some sort of attention given to their rights,” Horne said, asking the minster, “When are you going to stand up?”

“I’m not a scientist but I want them to talk openly and publicly and publish their information as part of getting to a better decision,” LeBlanc told protesters, thanking them for their expressing what he called a “reasonable concern.”

“It’s all words at this point,” Horne said of LeBlanc’s response, adding five per cent of protected oceans is hardly a drop in the bucket.

“Five per cent is a tiny amount and that leaves 95 per cent of the coast and I guarantee you that 95 per cent of that coast includes all of the major industrial proposals right now.”

Fish Farms Out Now is planning a rally on the lawn of the B.C. Legislature Nov. 2.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Belmont senior girls volleyball team heads to provincials

Team set its sights on repeating as champions

City of Colwood considers plastic bag ban

Bylaw must be brought forward for public input before adoption

Widow of chef killed by SUV gives birth to twin boys

Khushal Rana was struck and killed by an out-of-control vehicle on Gorge Road last month

Songhees youth among those recognized by province for achievement in sport

Team BC athletes in North American Indigenous Games, Canada Summer Games recognized

Premier asks for re-do on Highway 14 study

A study on Highway 14 improvement has been delayed for a second… Continue reading

VIDEO: Innovating healthier homes

NZ Builders bring commercial concept into residential realm to improve energy efficiency and health

David Cassidy, teen idol and ‘Partridge Family’ star, dies at 67

Cassidy announced earlier this year he had been diagnosed with dementia

Vic High students take Saanich-reared comic’s words on mental illness to heart

School counsellors see uptick in visits after Kevin Breel relays his depression story

Vigil held for woman whose remains were found on Shuswap farm

Family and friends remember Vernon resident Traci Genereaux and along with five other missing women

Brewers create anti-fascist ale

Not For Nazis Nut Brown Ale made in the Shuswap will be ready in time for Christmas

LETTER: Jumbo Valley is part of Ktunaxa territorial claim

Ktunaxa Nation Council responds to Tom Fletcher column

3,800-plant grow-op busted on First Nation reserve

Three men face charges after RCMP bust a large drug operation on the Soowahlie Reserve near Chilliwack

VIDEO: Government approves funding of $750,000 drug for B.C. woman

Approval comes one day after province announces funding for Soliris on a case-by-case basis

This week’s wanted in Greater Victoria for Nov. 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Most Read