For the first time in the history of the Islands Agriculture Show (IAS), aquaculture was given a seat at the table.
Representatives from the Aboriginal Aquaculture Association, Salish Sea Foods from Comox, Cermaq, Omega Pacific Hatchery from Great Central Lake and West Coast Aquatic from Port Alberni all represented aquaculture in some form.
“This is the first year the agriculture show has included aquaculture,” said Daniel Rabu, an aquaculture business technical expert with Aboriginal Aquaculture Association.
“This is the beginning of something,” Rabu said. “It’s the fastest growing segment in food production and First Nations are important stakeholders since most of the development takes place in their traditional territories.”
Kevin Everson, a Salish Sea Foods processor from the Komox First Nation in Comox, and Rachael Jones, a smokehouse technician were two of the most popular people at the show on Friday, as they were giving out samples of their pepper smoked and candied salmon.
“They’ve made more of an effort this year,” Grant Warkentin, communications officer for Cermaq, acknowledged of the IAS. Cermaq is a global salmon farming company with offices in Campbell River.
“We’re happy to be here because we’re a local seafood farming company. We employ hundreds of local people. We have a lot of Port Alberni people who go and work in our Tofino plant.”