Special to The Record
An enthusiastic crowd of wild salmon lovers with drums and colourful signs greeted the research vessel Martin Sheen when it arrived in Comox Harbour last Tuesday.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has loaned the 80-foot sailboat and its crew to Operation Virus Hunter, which is an investigation into the transmission of the piscine reovirus from B.C. fish farms to wild salmon. On board was Alexandra Morton, biologist and fish farm critic, who has been researching and writing about the effects of fish farming on wild salmon for over 25 years.
Also on board were delegates from the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw First Nation’s Cleansing Our Waters campaign. They had just delivered eviction notices and carried out cleansing ceremonies at several fish farms in their territory, which is in the Broughton Archipelago and Kingcome Inlet area. The Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw say that they never gave permission for fish farms to be there, and they must be removed because they are harming wild salmon runs and endangering their culture.
The delegation was given a traditional welcome by members of the K’omoks First Nation. After listening to several rousing speeches and watching the Kumugwe Dancers perform their traditional dances, the crowd linked arms and chanted “No More Fish Farms”.
The Martin Sheen and the Cleansing Our Waters campaign visited Nanaimo on Wednesday and arrived in Victoria on Saturday. About 400 supporters gathered in front of the Parliament Buildings to hear their message and witness a letter being delivered to the B.C. Legislature. The Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw are calling on all those who care about wild salmon and First Nations’ culture to visit their website at www.cleansingourwater.com to find out how to take action.