Broughton First Nations to Decommission Fish Farms

On March 7, 2023, ‘Namgis, Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis, and Mamalilikulla First Nations (Broughton First Nations) issued a press release announcing that they “do not consent to the continued operation of any fish farms in the Broughton Archipelago or anywhere in [their] respective Territories.” The Broughton First Nations called for Mowi Canada West Inc. and Cermaq Canada to cease operating seven fish farms in the region.

“Sadly, we have been witnessing the devastating decline and collapse of wild salmon and other marine species in our Territories that have been the foundation of our food, culture, and way of life for millennia,” says Hereditary and Elected Chief, Tlakuglus, Chief Rick Johnson. “We are working very hard to restore wild salmon populations and ecosystems in the Broughton Archipelago, and these decisions mark another important step in the effort to protect these precious fish.”

Mandell Pinder LLP is honored to work on behalf of the Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mix First Nation and the Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw Hereditary Chiefs, working closely with ‘Namgis and Mamalilikulla First Nations, to reach decisions regarding these fish farms. The decisions requiring decommissioning were made as a result of consent-based processes with each of Mowi and Cermaq in which both companies agreed to respect the outcome of the processes.

As the Broughton First Nations explain:

When making our decisions, we considered our sacred responsibilities to past, present, and future generations to protect the lands, waters, and resources of our Territories. Our laws, customs, and traditions require us to act in a precautionary manner, to respect, and protect our marine Territories and way of life. We, the Broughton First Nations have long held concerns about the locations and operations of fish farms in the Broughton Archipelago, especially in relation to the threats facing wild salmon.

The Broughton First Nations have ultimately decided, applying our Indigenous laws, and the precautionary principle, not to provide any written agreement for the continued operation of any of Mowi or Cermaq’s fish farms in our respective Territories.

Hereditary and Elected Chief, Winidi, Chief John Powell, said of the decision:

This is a very important decision for our Nations, for our people, and for wild salmon. For over 30 years we have been raising concerns about these fish farms in our respective Territories. To have our decision-making authority recognized on an issue of such importance to us, and to all of British Columbia is very meaningful.

Hereditary and Elected Chief, Homiskanis, Chief Don Svanvik, also commends Mowi and Cermaq for “respectfully and actively working with us through this process. They have shown a real commitment to supporting and respecting our decision-making.”

The Broughton First Nations intend to work with Mowi, Cermaq, and BC, to decommission the remaining fish farms and support the recovery of wild salmon.

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