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‘We Won’: Canada Indigenous Group Scoops Up Billion Dollar Seafood Firm

“Clearwater Seafoods deal gives Mi’kmaq control of lucrative ocean stretch, as tensions remain high over First Nation fishing rights”

“For generations, Indigenous peoples in Canada have watched, often in frustration, as commercial industries profit from the land and waters their ancestors once harvested. This week, however, excitement replaced irritation as a group of First Nations announced plans to scoop up one of the largest seafood companies in North America.

Early this week, leaders of the Membertou and Miawpukek First Nations, both of which are Mi’kmaq communities, reached an agreement to buy Nova Scotia-based Clearwater Seafoods in a deal worth C$1bn (£580m). Heralded as the “single largest investment in the seafood industry by any Indigenous group in Canada”, the landmark deal comes at a critical moment for Indigenous communities in the region, as tensions remain high over their treatied fishing rights.

“For 13,000 years, the Mi’kmaq have sustainably fished the waters of Atlantic Canada, and today, on this truly transformational day, we are owners of a global leader in the fishery,” Chief Terrence Paul of the Membertou wrote in a letter to community members, announcing the purchase. “For so many years, our communities were not welcome to participate in big industry. Today, on our own terms we are 50% commercial owners.””

Leyland Cecco reports for the Guardian November 12, 2020.