The Broughton area is a group of islands to the northeast of the Queen Charlotte Strait, east of Port McNeill. There are numerous First Nations communities in the area who have long used the lands and waters in this ecologically rich and culturally diverse area.
Open-net fish farming has long been a source of conflict in the Broughton. Salmon have an important role in First Nations’ culture and economy, and people in the region have had concerns about the effect of open-net farming on declining wild salmon populations.
In 2018, the ‘Namgis, the Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis and Mamalilikulla First Nations and the B.C. government reached an agreement to make recommendations and decisions together about open-net fish farms operating in the Broughton. The three Nations and the B.C. government developed a plan for the future of fish farming in the area. Two companies operating in the area, Mowi Canada West (formerly Marine Harvest) and Cermaq Canada, were involved and supported the plan.
The plan focuses on working together to protect and restore wild salmon and allows a planned transition for the 17 open-net fish farms in the Broughton. The First Nations will be involved in monitoring and inspecting salmon farms and restoring salmon habitat.
This work helps create a more sustainable future for local communities and workers, and more certainty for the companies. By working together under the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, First Nations, government and industry can create good results that benefit people, communities and the environment.