GLOBE Foundation

BC First Nation signs on to closed containment salmon farming


Source: GLOBE Foundation

AgriMarine Holdings Inc. and the Lax Kw'alaams First Nation have announced signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to investigate the possibility of developing closed containment cultured salmon operations utilizing AgriMarine technology in Band territory on the North Coast of British Columbia.

AgriMarine's technology for culturing salmon and other finfish in floating solid wall closed containment systems allows for a controlled rearing water environment and production of sustainable seafood.

'First Nations participation is a key element of our strategy in British Columbia', said Richard Buchanan, President and CEO of AgriMarine. 'Prior to this Agreement, the Tsimshian First Nation had been opposed to traditional net cage fish farming due to its negative impact on the environment. Our technology offers a solution to the issues facing this industry and mitigates the environmental impacts associated with conventional net cage fish farming practices.'

Commenting on the Agreement, Chief Councilor of the Lax Kw'alaams Band, Gary Reece, said: 'We are pleased to be able to move forward with investigating the feasibility of this project and we are optimistic that the promise of this unique technology can have valuable applications on our territory, and beyond'.

By working within the spirit of this Agreement, the Company and the First Nation endeavor to demonstrate that AgriMarine's system offers a responsible, sustainable aquaculture alternative, resulting in a minimal environmental footprint while providing important economic development for the region.

The Lax Kw'alaams Band will take the lead in undertaking the Environmental Assessment and applying for all required licensing and permitting processes for both tenure and operating permits. However, there is a current moratorium in place regarding the issuance of any new fish farm licenses until Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) can assume control of regulating salmon farms at the end of this current year.

Upon the successful completion of the Environmental Assessment and permitting stage, AgriMarine will design, build and install closed containment rearing facilities in the Traditional Territory of the Lax Kw'alaams Band.

Economic Impact

The Tsimshian First Nation communities are located in British Columbia and Alaska, around Terrace and Prince Rupert and the southernmost corner of Alaska on Annette Island (the word 'Tsimshian' translates to 'people inside the Skeena River').

Salmon continues to be a staple food for the Tsimshian First Nation; however, large-scale commercial fishing, coupled with warmer waters due to climate change, have resulted in a decline of salmon returns in the Fraser and Skeena Rivers, and their tributaries. Salmon is being managed by a communal quota system, although the window of opportunity for commercial fishermen is small.

By committing to the first stage of this partnership, the Lax Kw'alaams hope to revive its fisheries-based economy.

About AgriMarine Holdings Inc.

AgriMarine Holdings Inc., through its wholly owned subsidiary, AgriMarine Industries Inc., has developed proprietary technology for the rearing of salmon and other finfish in floating solid wall closed containment systems that allows for total control of the rearing water environment. AgriMarine's technology resolves many of the environmental issues created by present net cage rearing practices worldwide and permits the installation of fish production systems in close proximity to consumer markets.

Under the terms of the Memorandum, AgriMarine will investigate potential sites within the Band territory for placing closed containment technology systems for culturing fish with the assistance of the Lax Kw'alaams Band.

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