Cermaq Canada operates in Ahousaht Territory under the Ahousaht Protocol Agreement and through the governance process of the Ahousaht Ha’wiih (Hereditary Chiefs) as represented by Maaqtusiis Hahoulthee Stewardship Society (MHSS). Respect and recognition of Ahousaht governance, Territory, and position as a Rightsholder is central to the Protocol. This protocol agreement covers a wide range of topics including, but not limited to, environmental stewardship, employment commitments, community,
and wild salmon projects, operating and communication standards, and benefit-sharing arrangements. As an example of the depth of the relationship, Cermaq Canada, Ahousaht Leadership and MHSS worked to coordinate COVID-19 relief efforts for the community.
Wild salmon partnerships include habitat restoration, risk mitigation through an area-based management approach, and salmon enhancement where appropriate. With support from Maaqutusiis Hahoulthee Stewardship Society (MHSS), Uu-a-thluk and Cermaq, the Nation has set up a new ‘hatchery in a box’ in response to rapidly declining Chum salmon populations that have affected community members’ ability to secure food fish.
Cermaq has committed to aligning the required resources for culturally appropriate recruitment, advancement, skill development, and retention of Ahousaht employees (inclusive of neighbouring Nations). Such initiatives include a youth employment program and breakfast program for the processing plant. The youth employment program prepares young First Nations workers for employment opportunities whether they stay in aquaculture or venture to other fields.