Canadian First Nations support cooperation with Cermaq

May 21, 2010 11:38

Representatives from Ahousaht First Nation and Cape Mudge First Nation in British Colombia visit Norway to gain knowledge about Norwegian salmon farming, reports with reference to Cermaq. 

Cermaq is arranging the visit which includes visits to Mainstream's operations in Steigen, the research EWOS Innovation, and various meetings in Oslo and in Ottawa.
- Salmon farming is important in our territory, and Ahousaht have signed a protocol agreement with Mainstream Canada to ensure our mutual interest. I want to gain insight in Norwegian fish farming and Cermaq's operations, so that my people can make the best use of our agreement, says Maquinna (Lewis George), Hereditary Tyee Chief of Ahousaht First Nation.
- In Ottawa we were received with respect both at the Norwegian embassy and at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and experienced a good dialogue and mutual understanding of the positive impact of salmon farming for community development in our territory, Maquinna (Lewis George) underlines.

Ahousaht First Nation sent a letter to King Harald of Norway during the Olympic Games emphasising that they do not support the protests put forward amongst others by Chief Bob Chamberlin of another First Nation in British Colombia.
- I respect that Hereditary Chiefs have different views on fish farming in their territories. Likewise I expect that the views of Ahousaht for their territory too will be respected, Maquinna (Lewis George) underscores.

Ahousaht has more than 2000 members of which more than 1000 live in the territory. Ahousaht is the largest First Nation on the west side of Vancouver Island, and over half of Mainstream's production in Canada is located in the territory of Ahousaht.
- Workplaces and industries for the future are important for us, and in this respect aquaculture may provide an opportunity, says Ted Assu President in Cape Mudge Sea Food Corporation.
- We believe it is important to have good and balanced agreements with companies that operate in our territories, and the protocol agreement between Mainstream and Ahousaht First Nation can be a good model, continues Ted Assu.

Cermaq is strongly engaged in relations with First Nations in Canada. This was a complicated area when Cermaq entered fish farming operations in British Colombia in Canada, and Cermaq is pleased to see that the agreement with Ahousaht is seen as interesting amongst other First Nations.
- Our ambition is to have mutual advantageous agreements with First Nations in all the territories in which we operate in British Colombia, says CEO in Cermaq Geir Isaksen.

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