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Glancing Back at the History of Salmon Farming in B.C.

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
18 December 2008, at 12:00am

CANADA - Salmon farming started in British Columbia about 25 years ago, growing rapidly to become an important coastal industry. From the outset, it was embraced by many and criticized by others.

While public messaging indicates that strong opinions remain in Canada, 'what has the aquaculture industry achieved in its first quarter-century?', asks Clare Backman of TheVancouverSun.

"Farmed salmon is now British Columbia's biggest agricultural export with 79,000 tonnes processed in 2007", she says. "Of this total, Marine Harvest Canada produced 40,000 tonnes and every kilogram of fresh Atlantic salmon from our B.C. operations had a waiting buyer."

Global consumer demand for salmon is increasing by five per cent every year. Its health benefits are clear and it is now affordable and available fresh year-round, thanks to aquaculture. It is an encouraging future, she adds.

Today, Marine Harvest directly employs 530 people, making it the biggest private sector employer on northern Vancouver Island. In addition there are hundreds of suppliers, contractors, and others who depend on us for their livelihoods.

One example is their partnership with the Kitasoo/Xai'xais people at Klemtu, a remote village about 500 km north of Vancouver.

In 1997, the community agreed to work with Marine Harvest to build a successful aquaculture business. Today, 60 band members work on six farm sites, at the processing plant, and in support roles to grow and process 5,000 tonnes of Atlantic salmon annually.

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