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Clearwater, Canadian First Nations groups enter 'historic agreement' for surf clam fishery

Clearwater CEO said the company is taking a leadership role to build partnerships with First Nations.

Canada's Clearwater Seafoods on Monday entered into a 50-year partnership with 14 First Nation communities in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador that will allow the groups to cooperatively harvest the Arctic surf clam fishery.

Clearwater did not provide details of the agreement, but said in an announcement to investors that it will discuss details on Tuesday.

Clearwater said Monday the agreement "will protect existing meaningful economic, employment and capacity building for the 14 First Nations that are adjacent to the clam resource."

The agreement will provide millions of dollars in benefits to First Nations through annual revenue sharing, training, leadership development, employment, as well as procurement of goods and services from indigenous suppliers, the company said.

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"Clearwater supports the objectives of Reconciliation and believes business has a role in increasing Indigenous participation in the Canadian economy including the seafood industry," CEO Ian Smith said of the effort.

The voluntary agreement will be effective immediately and benefits to participating First Nations are retroactive to January 2019.

"It is historic and, in my opinion, a great example of Reconciliation," said Chief Misel Joe, chief of Miawpukek First Nation.

The deal will also preserve jobs at Clearwater's Grand Banks Seafoods plant, where it has been a longtime employer, according to the company.

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