Aquaculture employee from Vancouver Island, Michelle, poses with a comment that she received on social media. Facebook group Women in Canadian Salmon Farming started an online campaign #enoughisenough to highlight the harassment they were facing online after debates about Discovery Islands fish farms intensified on social media. (Submitted photo)

Aquaculture employee from Vancouver Island, Michelle, poses with a comment that she received on social media. Facebook group Women in Canadian Salmon Farming started an online campaign #enoughisenough to highlight the harassment they were facing online after debates about Discovery Islands fish farms intensified on social media. (Submitted photo)

Female aquaculture employees report online bullying, say divisive debate has turned sexist

Vancouver Island’s female aquaculture employees start #enoughisenough to address misogynistic comments aimed at them

Female aquaculture employees on Vancouver Island are reporting increased online harassment after polarized debates about Discovery Islands fish farm decision intensified on social media.

Campbell River based Katie Maxmick, a community relations specialist with Grieg Seafood BC started #enoughisenough after she saw younger colleagues facing the brunt of social media attacks which were alarmingly sexist.

Following the federal decision to phase out 19 Discovery Islands fish farms, aquaculture employees took to social media with #coastaljobsgone to express their dissatisfaction with the decision. This was met with counter debates from anti-fish farm groups.

An already divisive topic about salmon farming spiralled into heated debates and online fighting, said the 37-year-old Maximick.

“What I and some of my other female colleagues noticed is that women were getting treated a little bit differently by the anti-farming groups. The women were getting called names, having their experience and education challenged as well as their looks judged, when that wasn’t happening with our male colleagues.”

Maximick and over a hundred female salmon farmers started a private Facebook group called Women in Canadian Salmon Farming as “therapy” to escape from the gender-based attacks on social media and share their experiences.

According to her, most of the comments were coming from men in their 50’s and 60’s

“Social media these days has gotten particularly nasty and people feel more free to say nasty things because there’s never repercussions anymore,” she said and added, “If this was happening to women in another industry that maybe wasn’t as divisive, would we have more people coming to our defense?”

As part of the #enoughisenough campaign some of the women posed with placards of the comments that were targeted at them such as ‘better a sister in a brothel than a brother on a salmon farm,’ ‘you should be listening, not talking young lady,’ among others.

Kaitlin Guitard, a 24-year-old Mowi Canada West employee whose job was impacted recently was subject to online attack after she was featured in a media article based on the Dec. 17 Discovery Island decision to phase out fish farms. Guitard also posed with one the comments she received on social media after she spoke about her job being impacted by the federal decision. It read, ‘she’s cute… she will land on her feet.’

The intention of the campaign, said Maxmick, “was to bring attention to how atrociously we’re being treated.”

“I think the main point that we’re trying to get across as a group is you know what, if you don’t like salmon farming because it’s divisive that’s fair, everybody’s entitled to their own opinion on everything in the world. But why do we (women) deserve to be talked to like that? Especially when we are being respectful, professional and diplomatic on our end…if we’re debating salmon farming you know stick to the topic. If you want to talk about salmon or let’s talk but don’t take it down this other path of nastiness,” said Maximick.

READ ALSO: Canada ‘stole Christmas’ says Vancouver Island’s aquaculture industry

READ ALSO: Aquaculture companies’ judicial review challenges reconciliation and Aboriginal Rights: First Nations

Fish Farmsvancouverisland

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Low interest rates have acted as a catalyst for the pandemic real estate market. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy)
Real estate sales surging across Greater Victoria but risks lie ahead

Single family home prices jump nine per cent over past year while condo values remain stable

Passengers in rows 13 to 19 on Air Canada Jazz flight 8069 from Vancouver to Victoria Feb. 28 were exposed to a case of COVID-19. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
COVID-19 exposure found on flight from Vancouver to Victoria

Passengers in rows 13 to 19 on Air Canada Jazz flight 8069 Feb. 28 affected

Environment Canada has issued a wind warning for Greater Victoria, with winds expected to get up to 70 km/h Friday morning. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Wind warning promises blustery Friday for Greater Victoria

Winds up to 70 km/h expected Friday morning

Sidney staff have cleaned up unknown number of screws dumped along Resthaven Drive. (Black Press Media File)
Crews deal with a rock slide on the Malahat section of Highway 1 in 2017. (Black Press Media file photo)
Rock work closes Highway 1 in Langford for spurts

Friday closures could delay drivers up to 20 minutes

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

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

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

The intersection of Melrose Street and Third Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Suspect in custody after two pedestrians struck in Port Alberni hit and run

RCMP asking for video footage, credit witnesses for quick arrest

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Comox Valley RCMP raid Courtenay problem house, several arrests made

Comox Valley RCMP conducted a raid of a problem house on 20th… Continue reading

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

A Cowichan Valley mom is wondering why masks haven’t been mandated for elementary schools. (Metro Creative photo)
B.C. mom frustrated by lack of mask mandate for elementary students

“Do we want to wait until we end up like Fraser Health?”

Most Read