August 25, 2008
Marine Harvest Canada and BC’s First Nations-A Mutually Beneficial Partnership
Marine Harvest Canada makes it a priority to develop a strong and positive relationship with First Nations-it's a cornerstone of our business. These relationships must be based upon respect for aboriginal history and culture and must recognize important modern day economic, social and environmental interests.
The Kitasoo/Xai'xais and Quatsino First Nations are examples of these mutually beneficial relationships.About 450 Kitasoo/Xai'xais live in Klemtu, some 500 kilometers northwest of Vancouver. Ten years ago, Marine Harvest Canada partnered with the Kitasoo/Xai'xais to develop Kitasoo Seafoods, an advanced salmon aquaculture program that produces 5000 tonnes a year. With an economy based on fishing, forestry, tourism and now including fish farming, this isolated community enjoys a high level of employment and active involvement in their business and economic development initiatives.
Perhaps the outcome is best described by Band Manager Percy Starr, "The relationship with Marine Harvest has been beautiful for the Kitasoo people."
On Vancouver Island's West Coast, our collaborative agreement with the Quatsino First Nations includes a cooperative multiyear study of the interactions of our fish farms and the shellfish that are an important cultural resource of the Quatsino people.
Working partnerships are also in place with the Kwakiutl and Gwa'sala-Nakwaxda'xw First Nations, Qwe'Qwa'Sot'Em Faith Aquaculture Ltd. and James Walkus Fishing Company. The results of our commitment to help these communities through providing scholarships, sponsorships and donations to First Nation service groups, sports teams and salmon enhancement societies has not gone unnoticed.
We have been contacted by several other First Nations and discussions are beginning with the promise of new agreements that may result in business opportunities or capacity building initiatives such as technical or professional training programs for these communities.
Marine Harvest Canada is a farmed salmon producer based in British Columbia, Canada. It employs over 500 people and produces 45,000 tonnes of fresh salmon annually.
Contacts: Marine Harvest Canada Ian Roberts (250) 850-3276, extension 7256 Website: www.marineharvestcanada.com
SOURCE: Marine Harvest Canada