Cermaq Canada operates in Ahousaht Territory under the Ahousaht Protocol Agreement and through the governance process of the Ahousaht Ha’wiih (hereditary chiefs) as represented by Maaqtusiis Hahoulthee Stewardship Society (MHSS). Respect and recognition of Ahousaht governance, territory, and position as a rightsholder is central to the protocol.
The renewed protocol agreement builds upon a strong foundation of previous protocol agreements, which addressed operational plans, environmental stewardship, wild salmon protection and conservation, economic development opportunities, benefits sharing, employment and emerging business opportunities.
New to this latest protocol is a further focus on reconciliation and wild salmon, area-based management, innovation, MHSS specific standards and broader environmental monitoring in recognition of changing ocean conditions, climate change and potential salmon farming impacts and opportunities.
“It has been an exciting time for our business and for the Ahousaht Nation as we embark on the future of farming in Ahousaht Territory. Projects such as the feasibility study of a new semi-closed containment system, a focus on GHG reduction and improved sea lice management innovation have all been possible due to the guidance of Ahousaht leadership. We have also faced working through a global pandemic and found ways to mutually support one another through such a difficult time for our local communities and for our business,” said David Kiemele, managing director Cermaq Canada, in a press release.
“As we look to the next five years of farming within Ahousaht Territory we are aware of the standards that must be met in order to continue our business and we are committed to a high degree of transparency and welcome the oversight and insight that the Nation provides to us as invited users of their resource.”
“We are at a point of unprecedented challenges brought on by climate change, and a lack of understanding, particularly in government of our Nation’s rights and this important relationship. We are committed to working together to tackle both challenges through continued advancement of meaningful and measurable climate action, a focus on the health and wellbeing of the Ahousaht Nation, the protection and enhancement of wild salmon and providing open dialogue about the shared value approach of Cermaq Canada to increase understanding across governments of the critical role this business plays in rural coastal indigenous and non-indigenous communities alike,” said Hasheukumiss, Richard George, son of Tyee Ha’wiih and president of MHSS.