First Nations group strikes back in Ottawa billboard battle

Editorial Staff

All farmed salmon raised in BC is produced in partnership with BC First Nations says new Ottawa billboard.

The Coalition of First Nations for Finfish Stewardship (FNFFS) has launched a billboard campaign, featuring Isaiah Robinson of the Kitasoo Xai’xais First Nation, and highlighting the economic and social importance of salmon farming their communities.

The board carries the message, “100% of BC farmed salmon is raised in partnership with BC First Nations.”

The campaign follows on the heels of eco-activist group Wild First billboards advocating for the removal of salmon farms from BC waters. These were taken down after challenges from the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA) regarding their accuracy.

Subsequently, radio ads by Wild First, claiming that wild Pacific salmon were on the brink of extinction, were temporarily removed following objections from the BC Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA).

Economic engine

About half of the jobs that employ Kitasoo-Xai’xais now come from salmon farming or processing, Robinson, a councillor for the Kitasoo-Xai’xais, said in August in an interview with Canadian broadcaster Global News.

Fish farming and processing is the main source of employment in Klemtu, generating more than 50 jobs for the community, one of the most remote salmon farming operations in British Columbia.

In 2021, the Kitasoo-Xai’xais signed a major deal with Walmart Canada to supply the company with its Klemtu Spirit smoked salmon across 330 stores.

“Post commercial fishery collapse in 1969 we had a 5 percent employment rate. Now we have a 99 percent employment rate,” said Robinson.

FNFFS represent more than 10 coastal Nations between mid-Vancouver Island and BC’s central coast, including the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nation, Quatsino, Wei Wai Kum, We Wai Kai, Tlowitsis and Kitasoo-Xai’xais.


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