Grieg Seafood British Columbia has agreed to decommission a number of salmon farms in a territory run by the shíshálh First Nations Community.
The company said the move was in line with its process of ongoing site restructuring in the region.
The statement affirmed: “Grieg Seafood BC Ltd fully supports the First Nations in whose territories it operates, including recognizing and honouring the rights of First Nations to self-determine what aquaculture development they choose for their Nation.”
The shíshálh Nation’s territory, located around Sechelt Inlet near the Sunshine Coast of BC, held eight Grieg seawater licences.
Six of those farms have previously been removed from Grieg’s production planning cycle and have been inactive as they were older, smaller sites which were difficult to farm due to location (relatively shallow locations with warmer water temperatures and higher salinity).
“While some sites have been decommissioned, harvesting in the region has now been completed, and plans are in place to finish decommissioning all sites by early 2023.”
Grieg BC said the work was in line with its ongoing process of site restructuring, where the company seeks to develop sites that are well suited for salmon farming, and phase out older and smaller sites with more challenging biological conditions.
The aim of this process was to improve both the environmental footprint and fish welfare, while also reducing costs.
The company said it wanted to thanks the community, adding: “Following several months of conversation with the shíshálh Nation regarding Grieg Seafood BC’s remaining two operations and the Nations vision for their territory, a decision was reached by the Nation to remove salmon farms from their territory. “
The shíshálh are an indigenous people on the Pacific north west coast with a distinct language and a high level of craft skills. When white people first arrived they are thought to have numbered up 30,000 and were almost wiped out by imported diseases. The population is down to around 1,000 today.