First Nation lauds Mowi milestone in B.C.

All 28 active Mowi Canada West salmon farms off B.C.’s coast are now certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC).

By Fabian Dawson

A First Nation community is hailing Mowi Canada West for getting all its salmon farms in B.C. certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) – the most rigorous, gold standard aquaculture certification in the world.

“To know that the company has such high standards is really important to us…Our partnership has evolved over the years…Mowi has supported the community so well that we have strong ties and lifelong friendships,” Chief Roxanne Robinson and Councillor Isaiah Robinson of the Kitasoo/Xai’xais Nation, said in a joint statement.

“The traditional territories are of significant importance to us and we take who we allow to operate in our territory very seriously.

“It brings us peace of mind to know that Mowi voluntarily strives to reach the highest sustainability standard. It is of upmost importance that we take care of our traditional territories so we can ensure that we will have our lands and waters for our future generations. “To know that the company has such high standards is really important to us,” they said.

Mowi’s Sheep Pass and Cougar Bay farms, both of which are in the Klemtu region were the final production farms to complete the certification process. There are now six salmon farms in Kitasoo/Xai’Xais territory, whose community resides in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest.

The Kitasoo/Xai’Xais began farming and processing salmon since the late 1980’s, forming a partnership for the business with Mowi in 1998 – the first agreement developed by a salmon farming company and a First Nation in British Columbia.

Today, 20 BC First Nations have partnership agreements for farming salmon in their territories resulting in 78% of all salmon farmed in the province falling under a beneficial partnership with a First Nation.

Last year Mowi Canada West entered into a new 10-year agreement with the Kitasoo/Xai’Xais First Nation for economic development and employment centred around salmon farming and processing in Klemtu.

This new agreement builds on the 20-year relationship between the Nation and Mowi and includes enhanced protocols and oversight of salmon farms in the Nation’s Territory and a transition from primary processing to value added processing. 

Now that all Mowi Canada West farms in B.C. have reached the ASC standard, the company may label its salmon as ASC certified when sold in store.

“This is a fantastic achievement that speaks to our team’s commitment to operating at the world’s highest standards,” said Dr. Diane Morrison, Mowi Canada West Managing Director.

“To achieve ASC certification, every farm must meet more than 500 measures of fish heath, wild salmon protection, environmental stewardship, social responsibility, and more. It really is a tremendous accomplishment.”

The ASC standard was launched in 2012 after a decade of development through dialogue involving environmental NGOs, researchers, farmers and retailers from around the world. It is available for 12 of the most common aquaculture species, including Atlantic salmon.

To achieve certification under the ASC Salmon Standard, farms are audited against 500 separate aspects of the site’s performance. These audits are repeated every two years to ensure that the site maintains the standard required. Mowi has the most ASC certified sites worldwide.

B.C.’s salmon farmers are on track to be 100 per cent certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) within the next few years, states the   BC Salmon Farmers Association. 

(Image of the Sheep Pass fish farm – courtesy Mowi Canada West)