Majority of Salmon in BC Farmed in Partnership with First Nations
Salmon farming in British Columbia is worth more than one billion dollars to the provincial economy and results in over 5,000 well paying, year-round jobs. The majority of this economic impact is seen in rural coastal British Columbia, particularly in First Nations communities.
BC Salmon farmers recognize the importance of building lasting, equitable, and mutually beneficial partnerships with the province’s coastal First Nations. Currently, members of the BC Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA) have engaged in 20 social and economic partnerships with coastal First Nations, and are working towards many more.
In fact, according to the Aboriginal Aquaculture Association, 78% of the salmon raised in the province of British Columbia is done so in partnership with First Nations – providing them with well-paying, permanent jobs that allow them to take care of their families, while staying in their traditional communities.
These partnerships have allowed First Nation entrepreneurs, such James Walkus from the Kwakuitl Nation near Port Hardy, to become quite successful in their business endeavours.
"It's been tremendous," said Walkus. "We have First Nations people from our reserve working on these boats. Plus many of them are working at the plant, and some of them on the campsites tendering. It's absolutely great for our people."
As the salmon farming industry continues to grow in British Columbia, there will be additional opportunities for partnerships with First Nations. These relationships are built over time and are based on trust between all parties involved.