New Grieg BC boss puts First Nations first
Our most important relationship is with our Indigenous partners, says Woodland
Grieg Seafood has stressed the importance of its relations with First Nations partners in British Columbia after appointing a new managing director of its BC salmon farming operations.
Jennifer Woodland, who was appointed on Wednesday, was previously chief executive of Nuu-chah-nulth Seafood LP, a First Nations-owned seafood enterprise that operates on Vancouver Island’s west coast where Grieg has some of its farms.
Woodland, who has held roles within the salmon farming industry on both the east and west coast of Canada since the 1990s, replaces Rocky Boschman, who was managing director of Grieg Seafood BC from October 2016 until this month.
Grieg said that throughout her career Woodland had dedicated much of her work to developing meaningful partnerships between First Nations and the aquaculture industry, ensuring that First Nations “are leading the growth of aquaculture”.
The right person
“We are excited to welcome Jennifer as the new managing director of our British Columbia operations,” said Andreas Kvame, chief executive of the Canadian division’s Norwegian parent company, Grieg Seafood ASA, in a press release.
“Reconciliation and the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is at the heart of all activities in BC. I am confident that Jennifer is the right person to develop our BC business based on these principles.
“I want to thank Rocky Boschman for his efforts for Grieg Seafood, and for the improvements we have seen over the last years in the region. We wish him the best of luck on the next stage of his journey.”
Woodland said: “I am excited to work with the talented team at Grieg Seafood BC and the First Nations communities in which they operate, to see positive developments for the salmon farming sector in British Columbia.”
She added: “Grieg Seafood’s most important relationship is the relationship we have with our Indigenous partners and First Nations communities in whose territory we operate.
“I am looking forward to leading the team at Grieg to further our relationships, help drive improvements and create an atmosphere where local communities, Nations, wild salmon and aquaculture are thriving.”
First Nations have a pivotal role in deciding whether salmon farming will continue in BC, and how fish farming will be carried out.
In December 2020, the concerns of some First Nations that farming was impacting populations of wild Pacific salmon was used an excuse by former federal fisheries minister Bernadette Jordan to order the closure of 19 farms in the Discovery Islands, against the advice of government experts.
And the intervention of First Nations who benefit from allowing salmon farming in their territories was undoubtedly influential in persuading current fisheries minister Joyce Murray - who cheered Jordan's Discovery Islands decision - to renew 79 salmon farm licences just days before they were due to expire in June.
Canada’s ruling Liberal Party is continuing with plans to “transition” the industry in BC from open-net pens to other methods which Murray has said must avoid or lessen interaction with wild fish.
Grieg’s work towards transition includes the use of 15-metre-deep drop-down barriers which can be used to prevent sea lice from pens spreading to wild smolts during out-migration, and to protect farmed stocks from lice carried by wild salmon as they return to spawn.