Clearwater, the Mi’kmaq Coalition, and E’sukutimkewey welcome DFO decision to provide predictability to the Arctic Surf Clam fishery
Wed, 16 Mar 2022
HALIFAX, NS, March 16, 2022 – Clearwater, the Mi’kmaq Coalition, and E’sukutimkewey jointly welcome the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) decision to formally cancel the Expression of Interest process for a new offshore clam licence. Minister Murray’s decision supports collaboration between indigenous communities, stability for hundreds of fishers and plant workers, and certainty for the 14 Mi’kmaq communities party to the Landmark Agreement. Ian Smith, CEO of Clearwater Seafoods said, “I welcome this decision on behalf of the 450 employees working in the clam business. It provides certainty for the livelihoods of fishers and plant workers as well as recognizing Clearwater’s Mi’kmaq ownership and the Landmark Agreement.”
In January of 2021 the Mi’kmaq Coalition acquired 50% ownership of Clearwater Seafoods and hold the fishing licences in a company wholly-owned by the Mi’kmaq. This fundamentally changed the landscape of the Canadian seafood industry, including indigenous participation in the offshore clam fishery. “Minister Murray’s decision recognizes that the Clearwater transaction unequivocally transforms Mi’kmaq participation in the commercial fishing sector, providing more opportunities and prosperity for our communities,” says Chief Terry Paul, Chief & CEO for Membertou.
The Minister’s decision today also supports the Landmark Agreement, which remains in full effect, providing benefits from the fishery to the 14 Mi’kmaw communities adjacent to the resource. Chief Gerald Toney of Annapolis Valley First Nation and Lead for Fisheries with the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Chiefs says the decision from DFO will support Mi’kmaw communities across Nova Scotia, and in Newfoundland. “The Minister’s decision will create significant benefits for our people through employment opportunities and own-source revenues, which will help to further community prosperity.”
Clearwater Seafoods is one of North America’s largest vertically-integrated seafood companies. It is recognized globally for its superior quality, food safety, diversity of species and reliable worldwide delivery of premium wild, eco-certified seafood, including scallops, lobster, clams, coldwater shrimp, langoustine, whelk and crab.
Since its founding in 1976, Clearwater has invested in science, communities, people and technological innovation, as well as resource management to sustain and grow its seafood resource. This commitment has allowed it to remain a leader in the global seafood market and in sustainable seafood excellence.
Clearwater is proudly Indigenous owned. In 2021, the company was acquired by a partnership between Premium Brands and the Mi’kmaq Coalition comprised of seven Mi’kmaq communities in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Clearwater is equally owned and controlled by the Mi’kmaq Coalition and Premium Brands, with each shareholder participating equally in all aspects of the company including governance, operations, and financial revenues.
ABOUT THE MI’KMAQ COALITION
The Mi’kmaq Coalition, led by Membertou and Miawpukek, also includes Sipekne’katik, We’koqma’q, Potlotek, Pictou Landing and Paqtnkek. The collective investment of the Participating Communities in Clearwater represents the single largest investment in the seafood industry by any Indigenous group in Canada. Commercial investments in the seafood sector are a strategic investment to advance the prosperity of the Participating Communities, and position them as equal participants in the commercial economy. The impact of this transformational investment will be felt across Mi’kmaq communities in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador for generations to come.
E’sukutimkewey is the special purpose corporation established by 14 Mi’kmaq communities in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland for the purpose of entering into the Landmark Agreement with Clearwater in 2019. The Agreement forges a 50-year partnership that protects existing jobs in the Arctic Surf Clam fishery while creating meaningful economic, employment and capacity building for the fourteen First Nations that are adjacent to the clam resource. This agreement is an example of business responding to the Call for Action (92) from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and is consistent with Clearwater’s commitment to diversity in our workplace.
E’sukutimkewey includes Acadia First Nation, Annapolis Valley First Nation, Bear River First Nation, Eskasoni First Nation, Glooscap First Nation, Membertou First Nation, Miawpukek First Nation, Millbrook First Nation, Paqtnkek First Nation, Sipekne’katik First Nation, We’koqma’q First Nation and Wagmatcook First Nation.