Cermaq Canada and Ahousaht Nation have renewed a 5-year protocol for environmental protection and oversight of their territory. The agreement focuses on the priorities of Ahousaht and their Nation’s vision for socio-economic development. Also, it advises the company on how to farm in its territory.
The main values of this protocol are to respect and recognize Ahousaht governance, territory, and position as a rightsholder. The Ahousaht Protocol Agreement guides Cermaq operations through the governance process of the Ahousaht Ha’wiih (Hereditary Chiefs) . Over the past years the Nation and Cermaq Canada have continued to strengthen and modernize these agreements.
Previous agreements addressed operational plans, environmental stewardship, wild salmon protection and conservation, economic development opportunities, benefits sharing, employment and emerging business opportunities.
Transparency and climate change
New additions to the protocol consist of reconciliation and wild salmon, area-based management, innovation, MHSS-specific standards, and broader environmental monitoring. All this is in recognition of changing ocean conditions, climate change, and potential salmon farming impacts and opportunities.
Regarding this, David Kiemele Managing Director Cermaq Canada said: “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.
In addition, he noted: “We have also faced working through a global pandemic. We found ways to mutually support one another through such a difficult time for our local communities and our business.”
Looking forward, he noted: “We are aware of the minimum standards to continue our business. Besides, we are committed to a high degree of transparency. We welcome the oversight and insight that the Nation provides to us as invited users of their resource.”
On the other side, Hasheukumiss, Richard George, son of Tyee Ha’wiih and president of MHSS confirmed: “We are at a point of unprecedented challenges because of climate change, and a lack of understanding, particularly in the government of our Nation’s rights and this important relationship.
“We commit to provide 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,” he concluded.
Through its Sustainability Report 2021, Cermaq confirmed a 95% survival rate for Atlantic salmon in 2021.