We currently operate off the West and East Coasts of Vancouver Island. We are part of an international company with farms in northern Norway and Chile. Cermaq has about 4,500 employees around the globe and we sell our salmon to markets in Asia, South and North America, Europe and Russia.
At Cermaq Canada we know Atlantic salmon. We have decades of experience in how to grow and care for salmon. We believe that happy and healthy salmon are also the most delicious salmon. Cermaq is proud to have been one of the first organizations to join the United Nations Action Platform of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Sustainable Ocean Business. This is how we support the UN SDGs.
Who we are
Cermaq is Canada’s second largest salmon farming company. Our head office is located in Campbell River, on Vancouver Island’s East Coast. We are part of Cermaq Global, headquartered in Oslo, Norway, with operations in Norway, Chile and Canada.
Cermaq is owned by Mitsubishi, and is part of the organization’s Healthy Living branch.
What we do
We are passionate, innovative salmon farmers who use a combination of traditional and proven animal husbandry techniques and state of the art technology to ensure the health and wellbeing of our fish.
We are walking the line between traditional agriculture and modern, cutting-edge farming research and development. We encounter many challenges and opportunities as we deepen our knowledge of sustainable salmon farming and we are always pursuing opportunities to improve fish health, farming technology, nutrition and sustainability.
The fish farms of today do not resemble fish farms of the past. Through our commitment to ongoing innovation, research, and pursuing new technologies and partnerships, we are confident that the fish farms of tomorrow will continue to evolve.
We are providers of fresh, healthy salmon and believe that the iconic wild salmon of BC need to be supported to ensure that they remain a part of our history, ecosystem, and cultural identity.
We support the truth and reconciliation process and believe that through listening and learning, we can achieve shared value and move forward in a way that will provide benefits to Indigenous peoples, wild salmon and Cermaq.
Our employee benefits
Our employees get all the rewards of working for such a large, well-established international organization – like benefits, retirement savings plans and vacation days, while still living in small, rural and remote coastal communities. We like to say we love what we do, and get to live where we love. We know that Nova Scotians are just as passionate about their communities and would like to work where they live as well.
Our full-cycle process
We farm delicious, sustainable Atlantic salmon to provide people with a healthy and nutritious protein that they can be proud to serve their family.
Getting from egg to plate takes a team of dedicated professionals for every stage of the journey. In salmon farming, we mimic the natural lifecycle of Atlantic salmon as closely as possible to ensure healthy and happy fish.
Eggs are harvested from broodstock fish and grown in fresh water hatcheries until they reach the smolt stage. Smolts are then transported to our ocean farms to continue growing until they reach about 5.5 kilograms, when they are carefully harvested, processed and shipped to our customers worldwide.
Our West Coast operations
We have 28 salmon farm licenses on both the East and West Coasts of Vancouver Island. We also have 4 hatcheries and 2 processing plants – one which we own and operate, and one on contract.
We don’t actively farm all 28 licenses at once. We practice area-based management, which looks at all of the farms in a region to ensure we are operating in harmony. We let our farm sites lie fallow in between harvests to allow for the benthic impacts (waste from the farms) to dissipate. We stock our farms in a coordinated way to ensure we are not over-loading or under-utilizing a region. On average, it is fair to say that we actively farm about 70 percent, or roughly two thirds, of our farms at the same time.
We live our values
Our values are applied across the entire value chain of our business operations – from our business planning through to delivering a fresh salmon to the market. We are committed to ensuring we are the kind of company you can feel good about.
Our business strategy is respect
We farm our fish in some of the most beautiful places in the world. The mix of cold, clear waters and quiet isolation is what makes our fish so healthy, happy and delicious. Maintaining this environment is critical to maintaining our business operations. Knowing this, we are working hard to protect and enhance our surroundings, including the fish and animals who live in it.
Respecting nature. We are all linked.
One of our company values is long-term vision. We rely on healthy, thriving oceans and an abundant marine ecosystem to produce our healthy salmon. If the oceans suffer, our business, the people we provide food for and the livelihood of our employees will suffer. Ecosystem integrity and access to marine resources are necessary for us to grow our salmon and provide the world with healthy, fresh and nutritious salmon.
We work through partnerships with local associations and groups, including many First Nations communities and organizations, to support ocean clean-up projects, shoreline and intertidal cleanup and restoration, as well as support for wild salmon through habitat restoration and hatchery enhancement projects.
Respecting the basic human right to access healthy, nutritious foods.
Salmon is one of nature’s “super-foods.” This amazing fish is rich in minerals, vitamins, protein and healthy Omega-3 oils. Salmon has been shown to reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease and reduce the risk for a large number of other health risks such as improving bone health, controlling blood pressure and reducing the risk for certain types of cancers. Salmon has also been linked to healthy weight and a decreased chance of type 2 diabetes.
Natural fish stocks and traditional fishing are not able to meet the growing demand for sustainable protein. Our farmed salmon is a sustainable way to provide the world with access to healthy, nutritious and delicious protein for generations to come.
Responsible production and the value chain approach.
Current farming and food production techniques will not be adequate to supply our growing global demand for fresh food, water and energy. A major shift in the global food supply system is going to be required – and farming our oceans is going to have a large role to play in that. We are actively working to meet environmental requirements and operate in a socially responsible manner. To lower our environmental footprint, we work to optimize our value chain – defined as the flow of our business, from egg to plate – by identifying, managing and monitoring risk. Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP), and Global G.A.P are independent third-party certifications, which help drive our commitment to continuous improvement.
Respect for the needs of the planet. And its inhabitants.
The production of food is a major part of our climate challenge and contributes to a significant amount of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Moving forward, how we farm and source our food will need to dramatically change. With sustainable aquaculture, we can continue to provide healthy salmon while helping reduce the overall pressures on the planet.
Cermaq has developed a Carbon and Energy Management Program for all its operations globally, with the objective of reducing GHG emissions and energy use, enhancing social license to operate and lowering operating costs. Being at the forefront of sustainable aquaculture, salmon farming has the potential to drive innovation in climate-friendly seafood and healthy protein choices going forward.
Providing opportunity and respecting our employees, the communities where we operate and First Nations.
Salmon farming contributes to rural jobs and creates indirect benefits through spending, wages and opportunity (called the value chain). Cermaq contributes to local value creation in many ways. We provide jobs, we purchase and use local businesses, contractors and suppliers, we support community events and initiatives through sponsorship, in-kind and participation. We also provide education and learning opportunities through on the job training and specialized programs for youth and communities.
We spend where we work
Approximate overall spending with vendors since 2015
We invest in communities
In 2018, we spent over $500,000 in the communities in which we live and work. We look for ways to add value to the community by supporting existing passions and programs, or in some cases, adding to or improving the community’s infrastructure.
Community sponsorship and donations by spending area and strategic priority
We have earned our third-party certifications
Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) Certification
Certification through the ASC involves showing compliance with their farm standards set in place to ensure seafood producers are minimizing the environmental and social impacts of aquaculture through sustainability practices, responsible farming techniques, fish health and welfare and the ethical and fair treatment of employees, among others.
The standard includes more than 150 indicators addressing issues and impacts related to seven principles:
- Compliance with all applicable national laws and local regulations
- Conservation of natural habitat, local biodiversity and ecosystem function
- Protection of the health and genetic integrity of wild populations
- Use of resources in an environmentally efficient and responsible manner
- Management of disease and parasites in an environmentally responsible manner
- Development and operation of farms in a socially responsible manner
- Being a good neighbour and conscientious citizen
Certified farms sites are regularly audited to ensure these tough standards continue to be met. Visit their website at: https://www.asc-aqua.org/ to find out more.
Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) Certification
BAP certification defines the most important elements of responsible aquaculture and provides quantitative, science-based guidelines by which to evaluate adherence to those practices. The Best Aquaculture Practice (BAP) standards address environmental and social responsibility, animal welfare, food safety and traceability in a voluntary certification program for aquaculture facilities.
The BAP program outlines standards for each type of facility, from hatcheries and feed mills, to farms and processing plants. Each facility may be BAP certified, earning a BAP star toward a maximum of 4-star-BAP certification.
Best Aquaculture Practices certification remains in effect for one year from the date of final certification approval by BAP. In each successive year, facilities must undergo a site inspection and review. Facilities must complete recertification by their recertification date to be in full compliance with the BAP program.
The BAP certification standards were developed in 2011 by the non-profit NGO group the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) to encourage the use of responsible aquaculture practices for a variety of species, including salmon. Cermaq was the first salmon farmer in the world to be certified to BAP standards. You can learn more about Best Aquaculture Practices and the certification process on their website at: https://www.bapcertification.org/
Our 10 principles of First Nations relations
- Acceptance of UNDRIP overarching principles. Cermaq works in the spirit of partnership, mutual respect and shows good faith while working with First Nations. We respect indigenous peoples as rights-holders.
- Implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee (TRC) Call to Action #92, on the role of business in promoting reconciliation. Cermaq actively recruits indigenous people for jobs in aquaculture, and once hired we provide training and education opportunities. We also educate our management and staff on the history of indigenous peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, and UNDRIP, and help staff to develop the competencies to engage effectively with indigenous peoples.
- Commitment to ongoing and meaningful engagement. Cermaq engages with indigenous communities in the areas where we farm, and with their chosen representatives. This engagement is ongoing and goes beyond salmon farming, as we learn about their cultures, languages, priorities and aspirations, as we seek shared value.
- Recognition of traditional territories and the requirement for consent. Our operations take place in the traditional territories of several First Nations, and we acknowledge that they have rights over these lands, including the coastal waters. Therefore, going forward, Cermaq will strive to have the free, prior and informed consent of these nations to carry out our operations. We aim to have clear, written agreements whenever possible, documenting this consent and the benefits and arrangements made in each case.
- Sharing a common commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship. We understand and support First Nations’ desire to conserve healthy ecosystems for the next seven generations of their descendants. To achieve this goal, we seek all opportunities for collaboration for environmental protection, including the involvement of indigenous guardian and stewardship programs, where these exist. For this purpose, we also obtain third party certifications, beyond what is strictly required and to the highest standards.
- Acknowledging the paramount importance of salmon in the daily lives and worldviews of First Nations. We understand that First Nations highly value salmon as an icon of their traditional societies, as their primary food fish, and as central to the balance of all living things. We use our salmon expertise to assist in restoration and enhancement of wild salmon stocks, and to ensure a complementary (harmonious) and well managed co-existence between farmed salmon and wild salmon in the vast ocean.
- Respecting the internal affairs of First Nations. Cermaq will not get involved in internal band conflicts or governance issues.
- Respecting the diversity of interests and cultures among First Nations. Of the 605 indigenous nations in Canada, 197 of these (33%) are located in British Columbia. Indigenous people make up about 4% of the Canadian population. There is a wide diversity of interests and cultures among these nations. Each nation is unique, while also sharing a fundamental common vision and close ties with other nations, so we engage with each First Nation on their own terms.
- Contribution to developing capacity of First Nations people, particularly youth. We take every opportunity to provide and facilitate technical and skills training for First Nations in the communities where we farm. We support youth through community sponsorships, sports teams, educational events, scholarships and other activities.
- Supporting First Nations in securing economic and social development. In our formal and informal partnerships with First Nations, we provide a range of long term economic and social benefits as mutually agreed. We also support First Nations, when possible, to mobilize resources for strategic projects and initiatives considered priorities for their communities.