Marine Harvest continues to seek dialogue with First Nation leadership to find long-term solutions to dispute
October 13, 2017 – Campbell River, B.C.
Marine Harvest Canada (MHC) continues to reach out to local First Nations in the Broughton Archipelago region to find solutions to disagreements about its salmon aquaculture operations. To date no opportunity for meaningful dialogue has been provided to the company.
“We are very willing and wanting to discuss a long-term solution, but also require the appropriate time to ensure we don’t adversely risk our fish, our employees, and our business investment in an area that has been operating for thirty years,” says Vincent Erenst, MHC’s managing director.
“It is not possible for us to cease operations immediately as we deal with a living animal that needs to enter saltwater when ready,” Erenst adds.
The company notes that it has delayed stocking of its fish because of anticipated dialogue, but has now informed First Nation leaders that it must continue to run its business for the safety of its fish. The lifecycle of a farm-raised salmon is three years, and begins with a year at a freshwater hatchery. The company’s next generation of salmon is prepared to enter marine waters now.
The company has heard from some First Nation leaders that rights and title disputes with British Columbia and Canada are a primary concern, so the company has requested both levels of government to intervene.
Marine Harvest Canada operates within the traditional territories of 24 First Nations and has protocol agreements with 15 of these Nations and seven First Nation-owned businesses. The company is one of the region’s largest private employers, with over 550 employees residing on and around Vancouver Island.