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

Debra Lynn photo
Mysterious smoke cloud seen in Seavac Centre

Fire crews did a thorough sweep of the centre.

North Island Gazette file photo of Port McNeill council.
Heated conversation occurs at Port McNeill council over policy request

Port McNeill mayor Gaby Wickstrom wants to see a change in the… Continue reading

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
The Port Alice pulp mill site is being ‘recycled’

Bankruptcy company is overseeing de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring.

Port Hardy Senior Citizens’ Society president Rosaline Glynn holds up the certificate from B.C. Premier John Horgan next to Loaves & Fishes director Peter Sinclair, vice president Kris Huddlestan, and Port Hardy mayor Dennis Dugas. (Submitted photo)
Port Hardy council to nominate Glynn for the Order of British Columbia

Glynn’s nomination was endorsed unanimously by council.

Emergency personnel crews on scene assisting BCEHS with patient care. (Port Hardy Fire Rescue photo)
Speed and alcohol believed to be the cause of Saturday night car crash

More information on the crash could potentially be released at a later date.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C. on the COVID-19 situation. (B.C. government)
Dr. Bonnie Henry predicts a ‘post-pandemic world’ for B.C. this summer

‘Extending this second dose provides very high real-world protection to more people, sooner’

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

A crashed helicopter is seen near Mt. Gardner on Bowen Island on Friday March 5, 2021. Two people were taken to hospital in serious but stable condition after the crash. (Irene Paulus/contributed)
2 people in serious condition after helicopter goes down on Bowen Island

Unclear how many passengers aboard and unclear where the helicopter was going

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. transgender inmate to get human rights hearing after being held in mostly male jail

B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Amber Prince on March 3 dismissed the pretrial’s application to have Makayla Sandve’s complaint dismissed

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

The Netflix logo on an iPhone. B.C. delayed imposing sales tax on digital services and sweetened carbonated beverages as part of its response to COVID-19. Those taxes take effect April 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Matt Rourke
B.C. applies 7% sales tax on streaming, vaping, sweet drinks April 1

Measures from 2020 budget were delayed due to COVID-19

Chief Don Tom of the Tsartlip First Nation was outraged after Green MLA Adam Olsen revealed on social media that the community had been experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak – a fact the First Nation had chosen to keep private to avoid racist backlash as experienced by the Cowichan Tribes when an outbreak was declared there in January. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. First Nation ‘outraged’ after Green MLA reveals COVID-19 outbreak

Tsartlip First Nation chief shares concerns about racist backlash, MLA apologizes

A lawyer wears a face mask and gloves to curb the spread of COVID-19 while waiting to enter B.C. Supreme Court, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, Aug. 28, 2020. British Columbia’s highest court has sided with the land owner in a dispute over public access to public land. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. high court finds in favour of large landowner in fight over access to pair of lakes

The Nicola Valley Fish and Game Club launched legal action after the cattle company blocked road and trail access

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Friday, March 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau holds firm on premiers’ health-care funding demands, COVID-19 aid comes first

Premiers argue that the current amount doesn’t keep pace with yearly cost increases of about five per cent

Most Read