The agreement builds on a 20-year pre-existing relationship between the Nation and Mowi. The partnership includes enhanced protocols and oversight of salmon farms located in the Nation’s territory. It also includes a transition from primary processing to value added processing.
An existing processing building will be transformed into a modern hot smoke facility which will produce ready-to-eat products that will be produced by the Kitasoo/Xai’Xais people. Once the facility is operating it will be open 10 months per year.
“The Kitasoo/Xai’Xais have strict protocols for companies operating in our territory, particularly with respect to the environment, which is our top priority,” said Chief Roxanne Robinson of the Kitasoo/Xai’Xais First Nation. “Mowi has shown respect for our waters, and our people, we look forward to the seeing sustainable salmon farming and processing continuing in our territory.
“Our relationship with Mowi and the salmon farming industry has been very important for our people, creating jobs and economic opportunity for the community. We are supportive of the transition to a salmon smoking operation because it will provide good jobs, many that are a little less physically taxing than what they’ve been in the old plant.”
The renewed agreement includes regular reporting by Mowi on its operations which will be conducted by the Kitasoo Stewardship Authority.
“I thank the Kitasoo/Xai’Xais for trusting Mowi as their partner in aquaculture, we have had many successes over the last 20 years, and we are looking forward to working together for many years to come under this new agreement,” said Diane Morrison, managing director for Mowi Canada West. “Klemtu is a very special place for all of us at Mowi, we have developed a deep connection with the people and the community.
“Mowi operates its farms to the highest environmental standards as set by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council. It is important to us to have local guardians monitoring our farms and sharing their results with the community. We look forward to developing a comprehensive reporting and monitoring program with the Kitasoo Stewardship Authority.”
Under the new partnership Mowi and the Nation will develop a skills training program for the people of Klemtu. “For the past 20 years farm-raised salmon processing in Klemtu has been primary processing only, with salmon shipped out of the community as whole fish and head-on gutted for the market. Salmon farming and processing is the top employer in Klemtu, generating over 50 direct jobs in a community of approximately 200 people in the workforce,” said Mowi and the Nation in a joint news release.
The Kitasoo/Xai’Xais began farming and processing salmon in the 1980’s. They formed a partnership with Mowi in 1998. The partnership was the first ever agreement developed by a salmon farming company and a First Nation in British Columbia. Mowi operates six salmon farms in Kitasoo/Xai’Xais territory with an average annual harvest of 5,000 tonnes of salmon.
The Kitasoo/Xaixais First Nation is the band government of the First Nations people of Klemtu. Klemtu is located on Swindle Island near Port Hardy which is on the north-eastern end of Vancouver Island.