Marine Harvest and First Nation agree to farm observer
September 21, 2017 – Campbell River, B.C.
Earlier this week, Marine Harvest Canada (MHC) and ‘Namgis First Nation agreed for one of the band’s members to observe harvest of market-ready fish at Swanson Island salmon farm. On September 20 a ‘Namgis member observed the harvest aboard James Walkus Fishing Company’s MS “Amarissa Joye” and met with Marine Harvest staff.
Harvesting fish at Swanson salmon farm has now restarted after the company paused temporarily due to safety concerns regarding protesters camping on the worksite. The protesters have now left the worksite.
“I joined an observer at the site to witness our salmon harvest,” comments Ian Roberts, Director of Public Affairs at MHC. “As ‘Namgis leadership has expressed particular concern for small wild fish that may reside in our net pens, I was happy to be given the opportunity to show how our incidental catch separators attached to our harvest equipment work to release wild fish immediately back into the ocean.”
“We are very pleased that we have agreed with ‘Namgis First Nation to observe activities at our farm,” says Vincent Erenst, MHC’s Managing Director. “With proper notice, we welcome ‘Namgis observation of our operation. I am hopeful that this initial engagement leads to much more discussion about our business activities that occur within ‘Namgis traditional territory.”
Three protesters believed to be members of the Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation remain camped at MHC’s Midsummer salmon farm, and the company has reiterated its call for them to leave the worksite immediately, citing trespass and safety concerns. Marine Harvest has not received response to its request for a meeting from Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation leadership.
“While we seek a greater dialogue with local First Nations about our operations and potential benefits, some leaders have told us that rights and title disputes with British Columbia and Canada are a primary concern. We urge both governments to continue engaging with First Nations government to address questions and concerns,” Erenst says.
**This update is a continuation of a release posted to our website September 2nd HERE.