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Marine Harvest and First Nation Relations

by Ellen Hardy
27 August 2008, at 1:00am

CANADA - 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. According to Marine Harvest, this has been a mutually beneficial partnership.

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.


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"Our collaborative agreement with the Quatsino First Nations includes a cooperative multiyear study of the interactions of our fish farms and the shellfish"
Marine Harvest press release

Marine Harvest Canada has claimed that they make it a priority to develop strong relationships with First Nations.

According to them, these relationships must be based upon respect for aboriginal history and culture and must recognize important modern day economic, social and environmental interests.

They say that 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.

"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", says a press release.

"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.

Ellen Hardy