Grieg and R Harry Fishing Ltd. sign net-washing contract for Nootka Sound salmon farms
CAMPBELL RIVER, BC – As part of its ongoing commitment to reconciliation which includes the creation of Indigenous-owned business opportunities in its salmon farming operations, Grieg Seafood BC has signed a net-washing contract with local business-owner Richard Harry, principal of R Harry Fishing Ltd., to service Grieg’s five farms in Nootka Sound.
For Richard, a member of the Homalco First Nation, his livelihood has always come from the ocean, and this contract opportunity is a natural progression for the family-owned business.
“For myself and my family, we have always worked on the water,” he said. “We’ve always been a commercial fishing family and the children pretty much grew up on our boats, so it’s been a lifetime of experience.”
“The water is what I know.”
Richard formed the business R Harry Fishing Ltd. and is currently refitting his commercial fishing vessel into a net-washing workboat, one that will also house his workers on board.
He has also purchased three automated net washing machines to service Grieg’s farms in Nootka Sound.
“Everyone has put so much effort and good will into bringing this to fruition,” said Rocky Boschman, Managing Director of Grieg Seafood BC. “I know Richard is very entrepreneurial and progressive in his thinking. He’s a leader in his community, and he cares a lot about his family and the community at large.”
“At the end of the day, he is an innovative thinker who is looking to create local economic opportunity and support the responsible farming of a low-carbon protein. We’re really happy that he’s involved with us formally.”
For the past several months, Richard and Grieg’s Business Development Manager Trevor Gatzke have been building this custom net-washing contract to ensure the business transition is a smooth one for both parties. After many meetings and some revisions, the two organizations signed the finalized contract on July 6 at the Coast Discovery Inn in Campbell River.
“Richard has just been great to work with,” said O.D. Hansen, Grieg’s Director of Reconciliation. “He has made it easier for both parties. Grieg wants to find opportunities not only for our First Nations partners, but First Nations businesses to be able to succeed, and this is an example of that – breaking down what would normally be a big contract granted to one business into regions for different Nations or Indigenous businesses to be involved.”
This is the second net-washing agreement between Grieg and a local Indigenous enterprise so far this year, after the Tlowitsis Nation’s business Chief’s Pride Aquaculture Corp. signed a similar contract with Grieg in June to service salmon farms in their traditional territory of Clio Channel.
Richard’s previous work with the Aboriginal Aquaculture Association (AAA) means he’s developed a firm understanding of the salmon farming industry. With the recent announcement on BC’s commercial fishing closures from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Richard said transitioning to working in finfish aquaculture is ideal timing for his family.
“[Fishing] is something I’ve enjoyed all my life and it gets taken away, but we have to move forward,” he said, “And this partnership that we’ve worked so hard on over the past year is how we do that. I’ve got to say that the integrity of Grieg has really shown up here. If I felt otherwise, I wouldn’t be here.”
“In the past 20 years I’ve advocated for aquaculture and believed in it even when others spoke down to it. We see lots of change with the industry and First Nations going forward, and I’ve been a part of that for a long time. This kind of partnership that we’re establishing today can be a model for that. I’m very proud to be a participant of this arrangement, my family looks forward to it, and I’m very thankful for it.”
Once the vessel is refitted, R Harry Fishing Ltd. will begin net washing Grieg’s Nootka farms in October 2021.