Wild Salmon Actions — Rally and Street Theatre

Street theatre calling for the closure of fish farms in the Discovery Islands, held Sept 24, outside the offices of the DFO on Burrard Street

From the office of Liberal MP Terry Beech, to a Wild Salmon Die-in outside the DFO, the Wild Salmon Action Team joined a call by one hundred and one First Nations to close fish farms in the Discovery Islands

by Rob Dainow

September 2020

This September, the Vancouver Unitarian Wild Salmon Action Team partnered with the Wild Salmon Defenders Alliance, to join a coalition of BC First Nations, demanding the closure of fish farms in the Discovery Islands.

Broken Promise
Cohen Commission, Recommendation #19:
Remove fish farms by September 30th, 2020, from the Discovery Islands

There are 18 open-net fish farms in the Discovery Islands between Vancouver Island and the mainland. Pathogens and sea lice from these fish farms are harming juvenile wild salmon migrating to the open ocean. Fraser River wild salmon stocks with critical migration routes through Discovery Passage are near collapse.

Sept 15, 2020: We gathered in front of the office of Burnaby-North Seymour MP Terry Beech to draw attention to his government’s promise to implement Recommendation 19 of the Cohen Commission.

Beech is the Parliamentary Secretary to Bernadette Jordan the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.

Sept 22, 2020: Press conference in North Vancouver

A coalition of one hundred and one First Nations, together with commercial and sports fishing organisations, wilderness tourism operators, BC businesses, and environmental NGOs demanded the federal government close salmon farms in the Discovery Islands and transition to land-based closed-containment fish farming by 2025.

Sept 24, 2020: We engaged in street theatre  — a wild salmon Die-in — in front of the downtown offices of the DFO, on Burrard Street, to deliver our message directly to Minister Jordan.

Excerpt from an email sent on Sept. 19 to the Enviro Team

Street Drama Outside the DFO
How to take part in the Wild Salmon Die-In / Die-Off
by Tamiko Suzuki

Dress in Greens or Blues to represent juvenile salmon. We will bring paper “sea lice” to tape all over ourselves. Please arrive a bit early to get your sea lice costume ready. It would be great if you’ve made some lice beforehand and want to walk around with them on! (See photos below.)

At a designated time, while drummers and singers perform, the juvenile salmon will “swim” around them. As the music slows, the swimming slows as the sea lice weigh down and ultimately Kill the salmon and everyone dramatically will flop down on the sidewalk *dead*.

During the next song, you must lie still on the ground while artists will trace around your body as if it was a crime scene. They will be drawing the shapes of salmon, orcas, bears, wolves, as well as trees to show how important wild salmon are to biodiversity.

If you don’t like having your face on the ground, bring a scarf, small pillow, wear a hoody, or lie on your arm. For those of you who don’t want to lie on the sidewalk, you can hold signs or get bystanders to sign postcards to be sent to the Fisheries Minister.

Covid-19 Precautions: Wear a mask of course! We will have hand sanitizers, or you can bring your own. Safe distancing will be required to keep everyone safe.


sea lice

Above: sea lice

Left: Tamiko in costume wearing paper sea lice cut-outs

DFO Offices, 401 Burrard Street

Street Theatre Highlights

Sept 24, 2020

We are honoured to work with Eddie Gardner president of the Wild Salmon Defenders Alliance, a Stó:lō Elder from the Skwah First Nation in Chilliwack BC


Families with young children joined the action. Above, Eddie Gardner organises “juvenile” and “adult salmon” for the Die-in Die-off

Eddie Gardner and drummers from the Wild Salmon Defenders Alliance at the DFO rally

The Crime Scene: As the drumming and song slowed, wild “salmon” weighed down by sea lice, fell to the pavement and died.

Tamiko names the shapes drawn around the fallen wild “salmon” : Orcas, Bears, Wolves, Eagles, trees … to illustrate the interdependence of wild salmon, forests and biodiversity

Sept 15, 2020

Highlights from the Action at
MP Terry Beech’s
Constituency Office

Left: Tamiko and Tara take a stand for wild salmon

Vancouver Unitarians Wild Salmon Action Team stands with the Wild Salmon Defenders Alliance

Eddie and Sabra confer outside Terry Beech’s office

We brought our message with drumming and song to the Liberal MP for Burnaby-North Seymour.

The rally was limited to 35 people, due to Covid-19 precautions and social distancing rules


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