Cermaq Canada has a contract to supply smolts to Kuterra until October 2024. Photo: Cermaq.

Cermaq signs three-year smolt deal with Kuterra

Cermaq Canada has signed a three-year deal to supply smolts to a land-based salmon farm in British Columbia that is leased and operated by Emergent Holdings.

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Kuterra Salmon is in ’Namgis First Nation traditional territory on northern Vancouver Island, near Port McNeill, BC.

The Nation opposes net-pen salmon farming and opened its recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facility in 2013 to prove that on-land fish farming could be a commercially viable alternative.

15-year lease

But the Nation was unable to turn a profit on the facility, which was built with around Can$10 million from the government and philanthropic organisations.

Last December it sold a 15-year lease on the business to Emergent, which has been financially and operationally managing the site for the previous year.

David Kiemele: Highlighted the importance of working together.

Greater certainty

“We have been providing our smolts to Kuterra since 2014, but this agreement marks the formalisation of the arrangement and greater business certainty for all organisations involved,” said Cermaq Canada managing director David Kiemele in a press release.

“We are happy to be in a position to be able to support a fellow local farmer and food supplier.

“The recent Covid-19 pandemic has illustrated how important local food security is and emphasises the importance of working together for the benefit of local communities and the province.”

East and west

Emergent Holdings owns Whole Oceans, which is developing a 20,000 tonnes-per-annum on-land Atlantic salmon farm in Bucksport, Maine on the eastern side of the US.

It sees Kuterra as an opportunity to develop on the west of North America, and has been looking at strengthening its operations and creating business continuity.

“In investigating possible options, it made sense to formalise the purchase of smolts from Cermaq Canada as we have been happy with the quality of the smolts provided, and the overall health, growth and performance of the smolts provided to-date,” said chief executive Jacob Bartlett.

“The agreement will run from October 2021 through to October 2024 which will ensure business continuity and the ongoing supply of high-quality salmon for our farm.”

Cermaq Canada operates four hatcheries across northern Vancouver Island.