The British Columbia division of Norwegian salmon farming giant Grieg Seafood plans to decommission eight of its salmon farms, where it has operated on the territory of Canada's Shishalh First Nation.

Chief Warren Paul, speaking for the Shishalh Nation, said the decision was made after a review of Grieg's facilities together with the company.

"Shishalh Nation, known as the "salmon people," have deep concerns about the impacts of finfish aquaculture on wild salmon," Paul said in a statement.

The First Nation has been a hub of finfish aquaculture in the province since it began in the 1980s, Paul noted.

"Fewer farms exist now, but our concerns remain," Paul said.

Grieg plans to remove all fish from the farms in the territory by the end of this month, with full decommissioning scheduled for February 2023.

The Shishalh Nation’s territory, located near the Sunshine Coast of BC, held eight Grieg licenses. Six of those farms were already removed from Grieg’s production planning cycle.

No layoffs as a result of decommissioning

The move is in line with Grieg's site restructuring,"where the company seeks to develop sites that are well suited for salmon farming, and phase out older and smaller sites with more challenging biological conditions," said Grieg.

The agreement was met following months of conversation, the salmon company added.

"As plans were in place to shift production from the Shishalh territory to Grieg Seafood’s other locations, this change will not result in employee layoffs," the company said.

Grieg added that the company's total harvest volume targets will not be impacted by the decision.

In June, CEO Andreas Kvame said that in the next four years, Grieg would increase its BC harvest by 36 percent to 30,000 metric tons compared to its 2022 levels.

Grieg BC is currently licensed to produce 23,400 metric tons of salmon annually, which it sells in North American and Asian markets.

Last month, Grieg named Jennifer Woodland, the CEO of Nu-chah-nulth Seafood, a Canadian Indigenous-owned company, as managing director for its British Columbia operations.

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