Mowi and the Nation to retrofit existing processing building to a modern hot-smoke facility to produce ready-to-eat, hand-packed produce.
In a press release, Mowi Canada West reports that it has renewed an agreement with The Kitasoo/Xai’Xais First Nation on a new 10-year partnership for economic development and employment centred around salmon farming and processing in Klemtu, British Columbia, Canada.
Mowi operates six salmon farms in Kitasoo/Xai’Xais territory with an average annual harvest of five-thousand tonnes of salmon. When signed in 1998, the partnership between Mowi and the Kitasoo/Xai’Xais was the first agreement developed by a salmon farming company and a First Nation in British Columbia.
Eighty per cent of farmed salmon is raised under protocol agreements with First Nations, in which the open pen industry is currently under threat of closure from a new Liberal election campaign pledge to close them all.
“This new agreement builds on a 20-year relationship between the Nation and Mowi and includes enhanced protocols and oversight of salmon farms in the Nation’s Territory and a transition from primary processing to value-added processing. The Kitasoo/Xai’Xais began farming and processing salmon since the late 1980s, forming a partnership for the business with Mowi in 1998,” Mowi Canada West wrote.
“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. “Mowi has shown respect for our waters, and our people, we look forward to seeing sustainable salmon farming and processing continuing in our Territory”.
Mowi and the Nation will work together to retrofit an existing processing building to a modern hot-smoke facility producing a ready-to-eat product prepared and hand-packed by the Kitasoo/Xai’Xais people. Once fully operational, the plant will operate 10-months per year.
“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 Mowi Canada West Managing Director Dr. Diane Morrison. “Klemtu is a very special place for all of us at Mowi, we have developed a deep connection with the people and the community”.
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, head-on gutted, for the market.
Salmon smoking operation
“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,” added Chief Robinson.
The renewed agreement includes regularized reporting by Mowi on its operations, and the development of a new farm monitoring program to be conducted by the Kitasoo Stewardship Authority.
“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,” said Dr. Morrison.