Voices of BC's Salmon Farming
Voices of BC’s Salmon Farming Community
Workers in the British Columbia salmon farming industry were invited in January and February 2018 to express what they believed others need to understand about the work they do. As word got around that a neglected voice was finally being given an outlet, others chimed in and in many cases wrote letters to Premier John Horgan and those in key positions.
In towns, cities and salmon farms up and down the coast, scores of citizens shared their concerns – in many cases their fears – about what the future could hold for a sustainable industry that thousands of families depend on.
The following are just some examples of their statements;
On Jobs and Job Security: Some Port Hardy Workers Voice Concerns
“I am writing to voice my support for the salmon farming industry. I work for Marine Harvest at their Port Hardy Plant and have done so for 15 years. The company provides me with a year-round, well-paying job that lets me support and provide for my family. l have put two children through collage, on which they came out debt free. I would be very disappointed to lose my job or be laid off due to any further restrictions imposed on the industry, l need this job!”
"I am a long-time employee of the Marine Harvest Port Hardy Processing Plant, since 2007. Marine Harvest has been a stable employer, despite market changes, mergers, and everything else that affects this industry. Living in rural North Vancouver Island, this has been very comforting. I have been blessed with year-round work, a competitive wage, and extensive benefits. This combination has allowed me to support myself comfortably, and even allowed me to become a homeowner recently, a life-long goal."
"I have worked in the industry now for over 20 years and have built a life with my family here in BC because of this. In over 20 years in the industry I have never been laid off, Marine Harvest has provided a great life for me and my family. In our small town of Port Hardy Marine Harvest is one of the biggest employer’s here, not only in Port hardy but the whole North Island. Marine Harvest has mainly kept the North Island alive."
"I have been working in the Aquaculture industry for 22 years. I Am the main bread winner for a family of 5 living. My industry has been under attack as of late and this scares me because if I lose my job i will not be able to support my family any longer and as this is the only job i have had in my adult life, my prospects of finding a new job to support my family are slim to none."
"I work in Marine Harvest PHPP as Clean Up crew for 3 years and i love my job and i want to continue to work here that is why i support the salmon farming industry, Marine harvest company helps a lot specially to my family daily needs."
"The company provides me with a year-round, well-paying job that lets me support and provide for my family. My oldest son is 6 years old his name is Lucas he has Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and thanks to Marine Harvest Canada and my job we fight against the odds to ensure him a happy and quality life. I would be very disappointed to lose my job or be laid off due to any further restrictions imposed on the industry."
"The company has provided me with a full-time job and benefits which has helped grow my family here on the North Island. They have also been generous and helped with extracurricular activities for my 3 children. It would be devastating for myself and the town of Port Hardy and other small communities to lose this resource of jobs and financial income."
"I have been working for Marine Harvest for the past 17.5 years at the Port Hardy Processing Plant. I started out being an hourly worker on the floor, learning a lot about our business, and then moved into the management side of the business two years ago.
Marine Harvest has provided me with a great year round, well-paying job, and benefit plan that has helped me raise my children, and has put my daughter through nursing school, and my son move on to post-secondary education this coming year. My family and I would be greatly affected if I were to lose my job or be laid off due to further restrictions made to our industry."
"I am a wife and mother of two daughters. I work for Marine Harvest at their Port Hardy location and have done so for the last 3 years. The company Marine Harvest has provided me with a year-round, well-paying job that lets me support and provide for my family. There isn't much to our small community but without this industry there would be nothing at all. The community depends on the fish farm industry."
“Saying no to aquaculture is like saying no to clean renewable energy. Aquaculture is a safe and sustainable means to feed an ever growing population. There will be challenges and opposition to overcome but I know the industry will happily engage with all parties to ensure we have minimal impact to the ecosystems we operate in.”
“Myself and my employees come to work every day feeling that we are working for a net benefit to society — assisting with global food security, striving to ensure that aquaculture husbandry practices become even more efficient, even safer for farm workers, and continue to reduce the environmental impact of raising protein for human consumption.”
“If I ever thought we were negatively impacting our environment, I would not be doing this.”
On Wild Salmon
“I am so above and beyond proud of what I do as my career, as well as what aquaculture has done for my community. If it wasn’t for aquaculture and the company I wouldn’t be living in BC, my mother would be unemployed, and my father not far behind. Aquaculture has paid for everything I own and supported my passion for fish, maintaining wild stocks of all local species and the environment is very important to us as a company.”
“A well-managed and properly-regulated aquaculture industry like the one we have in BC is fundamental to reducing the burden of commercial fishing on our wild salmon stocks and plays an important role in protecting BC's coastal environment.”
“If you move the industry on land it would simply no longer exist on Vancouver Island.”
“Aquaculture is a science created to feed the world’s population with one of the best foods. In this province no agricultural/aquaculture product is so tightly controlled! If you take away just a portion of BC’s salmon farming industry, current and future investment in the important industry will cease, and thousands of residents will lose jobs and the province will lose out on what is now worth $1.5 billion to the economy.”
“I have found something I love to do, my fish are very important to me and I take great pride in producing a sustainable, quality product for people to enjoy.”
“I am a First Nations person from the Broughton archipelago area, this area is my ancestral traditional lands. The company contributes greatly to the towns of Northern Vancouver Island, with employment, suppliers and trades people. I would be very disappointed to lose my job or be laid off due to any further restrictions imposed to the industry.”
“I work near a remote First Nation village called Klemtu. We employ 66 per cent of the people on our farms from the village to grow salmon. We also support the processing plant in the village with our fish being processed there with almost the whole processing plant being First Nations. If it were not for salmon farming, I am not sure what the people from Klemtu would be doing for work.”
“The pride that our workers have in being able to earn a living and provide for their families is something that cannot be duplicated through social assistance or picking up odd jobs within the community.”
“Too often voices like mine – that of the working First Nation person, family provider, and nature lover – don’t get the attention that an unemployed or full-time activist often receives in media headlines. I am concerned that even you – in your well-informed public position as government representative – might be influenced by this hammering of negativity on TV, the paper, and social media.”