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Charr Partnership for First Nation and Top Producer

NOVA SCOTIA - Arctic Charr specialist Icy Waters has joined forces with the Millbrook First Nation to form an international partnership that will produce and market the premium quality freshwater finfish.

John Rose, President of Icy Waters and Millbrook First Nation Chief Lawrence Paul and his Band Council announced sealed the deal this week which aims to grow the business in an environmentally sound and sustainable ways using land-based aquaculture methods.

Consistent premium quality is the focus of both businesses and they are highly committed to the future. Icy Waters is a fully integrated aquaculture company dedicated to the development of Arctic Charr. It has an established business selling ova to aquaculture operations throughout the world and fish flesh products to restaurants and retail establishments across North America.

The under-developed, under-supplied market for Arctic Charr offers huge potential for aquaculture production.

The partnership is testament to Millbrook's commitment to the growth and prosperity of land-based fish-farming in Atlantic Canada, in particular Arctic Charr.

It will provide additional production capacity allowing both groups to grow the marketplace in Eastern North America. "This allows us to bookend the continent" said Mr. Rose.

The aquaculture industry in Atlantic Canada is in a state of transition. While demand for fish and fish products continues to increase in North America, supply is now global. The economics of fish culture have changed so that in order to remain viable, larger critical size is required. A new model is essential if the smaller scale farmer is to survive. Millbrook has worked successfully with the Atlantic Provinces Opportunities Agency (ACOA) to develop markets for Arctic Charr and will continue to do so in the future.

Established Producer

Subsequent to the Marshall Decision, the Millbrook First Nation has invested in aquaculture and selected Arctic Charr for its farm operation because the North American market for the fish was underdeveloped and under-supplied. Global production of Arctic Charr is estimated at 4,000 metric tons a year as compared to a million metric tones of Atlantic Salmon. Iceland currently supplies about two thirds of the world's charr production.

Chief Lawrence Paul and his Band Council established the land-based, grow-out facility on Millbrook's Power Centre outside Truro in 2003 with an investment of $3.3 million. Production capacity is 125 metric tonnes a year. Fish eggs are purchased from Icy Waters, hatched and reared to 100 gm fry in a Truro hatchery before moving into Millbrook's grow-out facility. The hatcheries, together with grow-out facility and processing operations employ about twenty five people year round, most from the Millbrook Band.

Icy Waters Ltd. was established in 1985 with production operations located near Whitehorse in Canada's Yukon Territory. It quickly became a world leader in Arctic Charr aquaculture production. Its facilities include: a state-of-the-art hatchery; quarantined broodstock production unit and egg incubation room; a Tank Farm which produces close to 200 metric tones of Arctic Charr annually; and on-site processing facilities. Marketing, sales and administration are managed from Kitchener, Ontario.

"We believe that Arctic Charr are the finest freshwater finfish available in world seafood markets today" said Mr. Rose. "We are committed to developing and promoting an industry which is environmentally sound and uses sustainable aquaculture practices".

Millbrook supports this strategy and industry commentators says the union should prove successful.

Ellen Hardy

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