Pamela Anderson, the Ladysmith-born model, actor and activist, is expected to be on-board the RV Martin Sheen for an anti-fish farm protest near Campbell River. Anderson is the international chair of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Image by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River Mirror

Pamela Anderson, the Ladysmith-born model, actor and activist, is expected to be on-board the RV Martin Sheen for an anti-fish farm protest near Campbell River. Anderson is the international chair of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Image by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River Mirror

Pamela Anderson to join Sea Shepherd during protest at fish farm near Campbell River

RV Martin Sheen to hold demonstration on Saturday at Cermaq-owned farm

Activists opposing ocean-based fish farms are planning another “protest flotilla” in the Okisollo Channel, north of Quadra Island, this time with the support of a Hollywood star.

Pamela Anderson, the Ladysmith-born model, actor and activist, is expected to be on-board the RV Martin Sheen on Saturday, according to Clancy Walker, a media and campaign coordinator for the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

Anderson, Sea Shepherd’s international chair, will be joined by Laichwiltach hereditary chief George Quocksister Jr. and Paul Manly, Green Party MP for Nanaimo-Ladysmith, according to Sea Shepherd.

A Facebook event for the protest, dubbed the Wild Salmon Flotilla, described the event as a “peaceful floating demonstration.” The protest on Saturday is part of a campaign dubbed Virus Hunter, which is now in its fourth year, Walker said.

Pamela Anderson attended a recent B.C. Green Party town hall meeting in Nanaimo with party leader Andrew Weaver and Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly. Photo by Greg Sakani/Black Press

The activist group, perhaps best known for its militant tactics against whaling vessels, is planning to stage the protest at Venture Point, a fish farm owned by Cermaq Canada.

In 2016, Cermaq said Venture Point was certified to the Aquaculture Stewardship Council salmon standard, which it described as the industry’s highest certification for responsibly-farmed seafood.

Cermaq said that Venture Point is an active fish farm that was stocked in late June and early July.

READ MORE: Cermaq salmon farms certified ASC gold medal standard

READ MORE: Mowi suspends fish farm construction near Campbell River amid protests

VIDEO: Mowi launches $30-million vessel to treat farmed salmon for sea lice

Sea Shepherd chose the Venture Point facility for the protest because of its close proximity to Campbell River, according to Walker. He said the group considers all open-net fish farms harmful.

“Whether they’re organic certified or have any sustainability certification, we believe they’re all just as bad as each other, as far as their ecological footprint,” he said.

The crew of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s RV Martin Sheen at the Discovery Harbour Marina in Campbell River on Tuesday. Photo by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River Mirror

Walker said the Martin Sheen is helping scientists gather samples from waters surrounding aquaculture facilities to test for viruses, while also trying out a submersible drone that will survey the sea floor and surrounding ecosystem.

Major concerns of the group include sea lice outbreaks at fish farm sites. High sea lice levels in the Clayoquot Sound led to the temporary shut-down of at least one farm in 2018. Activists say the sea lice problem continues unabated.

“There’s a huge abundance of sea lice in the water this year, particularly around Clayoquot Sound,” Walker said.

Industry-reported data from 2011 to 2018 on the website of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) indicates that sea lice abundance at Venture Point didn’t exceed the regulatory threshold in recent years during wild salmon outmigration periods.

Those periods, from March to June, are considered important because wild juvenile salmon are vulnerable to the pest as they swim out to sea.

Sea lice levels at Venture Point were also within regulatory limits during four DFO audits between 2011 and 2018.

A map from the website of Cermaq Canada shows the location of the Venture Point fish farm.

Cermaq officials weren’t immediately available for an interview about the protest. But fish farm companies have often said they’re committed to sustainable practices, while also citing the industry’s economic impacts, notably in terms of jobs.

According to a 2017 study commissioned by the BC Salmon Farmers Association, which represents the fish farm industry, more than 2,900 people were employed directly in salmon farming by 2016. Another 3,600 workers were employed through the industry’s economic spinoffs, according to the study.

Walker said the goal of the protest isn’t to take away jobs but to prevent a collapse of wild salmon and the larger ecosystem, including critically endangered southern resident orcas.

“All we’re looking for is to create sustainability within the ecosystem,” he said.

The flag of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society flies above the RV Martin Sheen at the Discovery Harbour Marina in Campbell River, July 23, 2019. Photo by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River Mirrorr

Walker said he believes the Martin Sheen is under surveillance, noting that a certain unmarked vessel has been observed at several locations.

“There’s been similar personnel on each farm that we visit that seem to either have already arrived by the time we get there, or arrive shortly after we get into the area,” he said. “I would say confidently that we are under surveillance.”

He said the RV Martin Sheen will sail to the Broughton Archipelago after its stop in Campbell River.


@davidgordonkoch
david.koch@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Carolyn Howe, a kindergarten teacher and vice president of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association, says educators are feeling the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic and the influx of pressure that comes with it. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Stress leave, tears and insomnia: Greater Victoria teachers feel the strain of COVID-19

One year in, teachers still adjusting to mask and cleaning rules, pressure from families

A wind warning is in effect for Greater Victoria Thursday afternoon. (Black Press Media file photo)
Strong winds predicted for Greater Victoria

Environment Canada issues warning for Thursday afternoon

The value of new construction in North Saanich topped $52.1 million in 2020 (Peninsula News Review)
Value of new construction in North Saanich topped $52.1 million in 2020

New figures also show 25 per cent increase in number of new secondary suites

This rendering shows plans for the new “flyover”overpass connecting northbound traffic on Highway 17 heading west on Keating Cross Road. Plans currently seeking public input propose two options for the median along Keating Cross Road. Option 1 will prevent left turns onto Tamany Drive and Buena Vista Road. Option 2 (seen here)will allow for left turns onto Tamany Drive and Bujena Vista Road. (Screencap/Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure)
Public asked for comment on proposed overpass for Pat Bay in Central Saanich

New flyover overpass proposed for Highway 17 and Keating Cross Road

The Gordon Head Recreation Centre stands in as the Quimper Regional Hospital on Feb. 23 for filming Maid, a 10-part Netflix series. (Greg Sutton/District of Saanich)
Netflix transforms Saanich recreation centre into hospital for filming

Facility was closed to public Feb. 23 for filming of Maid

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

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 Feb. 23

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

(Black Press Media File Photo)
POLL: Are you struggling with Greater Victoria’s cost of housing?

While Victoria remains one of the most expensive cities in the country… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

A Nanaimo RCMP vehicle in the Woodgrove Centre parking lot. (News Bulletin file photo)
Woman groped by stranger in mall parking lot in Nanaimo

Incident happened near bus loop Saturday, Feb. 20, at about 4:45 p.m.

A 19-year-old man is in police custody following a recent violent robbery and assault in Comox . (File photo)
Arrest made in violent robbery and assault of Comox gas station employee

19-year-old man in police custody after incident where woman was putting things in her car

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

Most Read