Cascadia and Tsawout Strike Seaweed Deal

In this video CTV News Vancouver Island Journalist Brendan Strain reports that, in October, the Tsawout First Nation on the Saanich Peninsula of British Columbia issued a license to Sidney-based Cascadia Seaweed allowing for a commercial seaweed farm on the nation’s traditional waters.

Near James Island are some yellow buoys. About four meters below the surface of the water is a seven-hectare kelp farm, using 21 kilometres of line. “We expect to produce around 30 tons of seaweed, which we will be harvesting at the end of March and early April,” said Mike Williamson, president and CEO of Cascadia Seaweed.

Cascadia rents the farm from Tsawout, says Mr. Williamson. “There’s offers of employment — seasonal and full-time, and when it’s time to harvest, there will be some sharing of the crop.”

It’s a partnership that Cascadia Seaweed, which is the largest cultivator of seaweed in North America, has made with six different First Nations on Vancouver Island. “We were looking for diversification and economic opportunities for our shareholding nations,” said Larry Johnson, president of Nuu-chah-nulth Seafood and chair of the Maa-nulth Fisheries Committee.

Three years ago, with shellfish tenures already in place, the Nuu-chah-Nulth First Nation decided to get into the kelp business. “There are so many uses with kelp that the list would just go on and on,” said Mr. Johnson. “We believe we’re starting a sector.”

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