Cooke partner with We’koqma’q First Nation to sell and market steelhead trout

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Salmon farmer to market fish grown from Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq community.

In a press release on Monday, Cooke Aquaculture announced that it is partnering with the We’koqma’q First Nation for the sales and marketing of its Bras d’Or Lakes-grown steelhead trout.

Mowi’s Northern Harvest Sea Farm, of New Brunswick and Newfoundland, Canada, previously had an agreement with the community to purchase and market all of the fish harvested at the farm.

“Our people have lived and flourished on the shores of the Bras d’Or Lakes for over 13,500 years, sustainably living and producing food in and around the Lakes for generations. The Cooke family business shares our belief that aquaculture can be developed in a manner that protects and preserves the environment for future generations,” said We’koqma’q First Nation Chief Rod Googoo.

“We believe this relationship with Cooke Aquaculture will help us further develop our Bras d’Or Lakes grown steelhead trout into a recognized brand, enhancing our economy and creating opportunities for our community for years to come.”

“We’koqma’q First Nation has shown leadership among First Nations in its approach to commercial fishing, and we look forward to sharing our best practices to further support We’koqma’q in becoming a leader in aquaculture fish farming development,” said CEO Cooke Aquaculture CEO Glenn Cooke. “We’re looking forward to a collaborative and productive relationship that will bring this world-class steelhead trout product to consumers.”

We’koqma’q First Nation, an historic Mi’kmaq community – from Canada’s Atlantic Provinces and the Gaspé Peninsula of Quebec Aquatic life is plentiful in the inland sea and the area is home to many successful fishing enterprises. We’koqma’q First Nation employs over 35 community members in the commercial fishery and over 50 community members in the aquaculture business. Several individuals work in the guardian program helping the community access its rights under the Food, Social, and Ceremonial agreements.

The trout farm was re-established in We’koqma’q in 2011, harvesting and marketing of current production begins on July 15th.

In a press release last year, Googoo said that “last year, we harvested 27 cages and we processed CAD 2.6 million worth of fish. This year, we’re going to be harvesting 64 cages and processing CAD 4 million worth of fish.”