Statement from Grieg Seafood BC Ltd. regarding exit from shíshálh territory
Grieg Seafood BC Ltd. (Grieg) fully supports the First Nations in whose territories it operates, including recognizing and honoring the rights of First Nations to self-determine what aquaculture development they choose for their Nation.
The shíshálh Nation’s territory, located near the Sunshine Coast of BC, held eight Grieg seawater licenses. 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.
This work is in line with Grieg’s 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 is to improve both the environmental footprint and fish welfare, while also reducing costs.
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. s plans were in place to shift production from the shíshálh territory to Grieg Seafood’s other locations, this change will not result in employee layoffs and Grieg Seafood BC Ltd.’s total harvesting volume targets will not be impacted.
Grieg respects the rights of First Nations as Rightsholders, and respect their ability to determine what operations, technologies and activities are right for within their territory, including salmon farming, and looks forward to continuing to work alongside those Nations with which it has agreements. It also acknowledges that Nations have centuries of traditional knowledge regarding their territory and will know bests about what they want to see in terms of innovation, investment, and economic development.
As a company, Grieg shares the concern for declining wild salmon populations and is committed to farm with the lowest possible impact and to continuously improve its operations. The company is developing new farming technologies that reduce interactions between farmed and wild salmon and is engaged in wild salmon enhancement projects together with First Nations partners.
Grieg Seafood would like to thank the shíshálh Nation for their willingness to be open and look forward to remaining in close dialogue as the farms are decommissioned.