The community of Klemtu has self-isolated to protect residents from Covid-19. Photo: Doug Neasloss.

Salmon smokery plans delayed by virus precautions

Mowi Canada West has called a temporary halt to plans to convert a processing plant in a remote area of British Columbia into a hot smoked fish operation.

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It follows a decision last month by the Kitasoo/Xai'xais First Nation to declare a state of emergency and isolate the community of Klemtu from Friday, March 20 to prevent the spread of Covid-19 to the area.  

Anyone who is not a Kitasoo Band member or a permanent resident is restricted from entering the community until further notice.

Full support

Mowi, which operates six Kitasoo/Xai'xais First Nation-owned salmon farms in the area and employs around 50 members of the Klemtu community, said on March 18 that it fully supported the decision.

“The health and wellness of the community members, particularly of children and elders is of paramount important to us,” said the company in a letter to its employees in Klemtu.

Staff flown in

To keep the farms operating Mowi has been flying in staff from outside the community directly to farm sites, with no local contact.

“We have temporarily closed the processing plant in the community, shifting production to other sites,” said Mowi.

“That has put our plans to convert the Klemtu plant to a hot smoked fish operation on hold for the moment. We look forward to getting back to that project as soon as this situation is resolved.”