Marine Harvest and three Central Island First Nations have concluded three years of discussions intending to guide the operations of salmon aquaculture in their territories.
On June 24, the We Wai Kai, We Wai Kum and K’omoks First Nations celebrated the signing of a capacity-building agreement with Marine Harvest Canada.
The agreement requires environmentally sustainable practices, provides economic and investment opportunities for the First Nations.
“We are very pleased to start a positive relationship between Marine Harvest Canada and our people,” says Chief Ralph Dick of the Wei Wai Kai Nation.
“It’s important that we have input into how companies operate within our territory since they are already here,” states Chief Robert Pollard of the Wei Wai Kum Nation, “and the best way to have our say is to work collaboratively. This agreement provides that opportunity.”
The signing increases the total number of agreements between Marine Harvest and coastal First Nations to ten.
“Marine Harvest recognizes the importance of working with local First Nation bands,” commented Vincent Erenst, Managing Director at Marine Harvest Canada.
“We look forward to working with our partners to ensure that our business promotes sustainability for our oceans, our economy and local communities.”
Collectively, the three Nations and Marine Harvest Canada represent a significant portion of BC’s aquaculture production – both shellfish and salmon.
Marine Harvest Canada is BC’s largest producer of fresh farm-raised salmon and directly employs 550 staff.
We Wai Kai, We Wai Kum and K’omoks First Nations represent approximately two thousand members and are in the shellfish business.