Grieg Seafood partners with California start-up to analyze ocean data, reduce environmental impact

Aerial shot of Grieg Seafood’s Gore Island farm in Nootka Sound British Columbia.

 

CAMPBELL RIVER, BC – Grieg Seafood and Scoot Science of Santa Cruz, California have partnered to launch an innovative ocean analytics and data management platform that will provide real-time data on ocean environmental conditions to Grieg’s salmon farms in British Columbia.

This platform, the SeaState Dashboard, unifies existing sensor networks on farms to collect information and provide a clear window into how salmon farms react to changing ocean conditions using in-pen data and publicly available data. This means better predicting ocean trends, giving Grieg an opportunity to reduce its exposure to marine risks, such as harmful plankton blooms and sea lice outbreaks, as well as improve fish welfare and efficiency.

Some of the data collected by this platform will also be accessible to Indigenous groups, universities, scientists and eNGOs in order to study ocean trends and understand the interaction between ecological systems (like wild salmon) and the changing ocean environment. The portal will also make other data available to the public, such as Grieg’s sea lice numbers and compliance with regulatory bodies, which aligns with Grieg’s transparency goals.

“As salmon farms are located in remote areas along the coastlines of our oceans, we have a unique opportunity to capture remote environmental data continuously 365 days a year,” said Dean Trethewey, Director of Seawater Production, Regulatory and Certifications at Grieg Seafood BC.

“We know accurate data drives sustainable decisions. With climate change and a new horizon of challenges in our oceans, our stewardship towards sharing data with key stakeholders is paramount.”

Grieg gave Scoot Science 20 years of archived data to use alongside the real-time data currently collected in the SeaState dashboard. With a deep background in ocean science informing Scoot’s artificial intelligence and statistical approaches, the team is beginning to understand important trends in the coastal ocean and has identified striking correlations between various environmental parameters in Grieg’s data. The result is that the SeaState platform can provide an accurate forecast in the ocean within three to four days.

This SeaState Dashboard will be implemented at all 22 of Grieg’s salmon farms in BC, before expanding to other Grieg Seafood regions in the world.

“Aquaculture can play an important role in providing healthy nutrition to people in the coming decades, but only if we find new ways to reduce our impact and improve fish welfare. It is exciting that start-ups outside traditional aquaculture are now looking to help us improve and solve our challenges. That’s exactly what we need,” said Grieg Seafood CEO Andreas Kvame. “We are still at the beginning of the digital revolution in fish farming, but I am confident that digitalization will transform our industry and make it more sustainable.”

Tools like the dashboard will provide a deeper understanding of how salmon farm operations are driven by the surrounding ocean environment, as well as inform more accuracy in precision aquaculture.

“We’re thrilled about this partnership. Grieg is a leader in precision aquaculture, and we believe that implementing our SeaState Dashboard and forecasting models will give a distinct competitive advantage. The scale of Grieg’s operations will give our team new insights and feedback for refining our analysis tools and will undoubtedly help us to best serve the top producers in aquaculture,” said Jonathan LaRiviere, co-founder and CEO of Scoot Science.

“Grieg’s commitment to the lowest possible environmental impact, strong community outreach, and focus on the welfare of their fish strongly align with our team’s mission of improving humanity’s relationship with the ocean.”

Once the Scoot Science platform is successfully integrated at Grieg’s BC farms, it will then be deployed at Grieg Seafood’s farms in Newfoundland and the Shetland Islands.

 

 

Media contact:

Grieg Seafood BC

Katie Maximick, katie.maximick@griegseafood.com

 

ScootScience Media Contact:

Brad Dugard, brad@sandcpr.com

 

About Grieg Seafood

Grieg Seafood ASA is one of the world’s leading salmon farmers, targeting 95,000 tonnes of harvest (GWT) in 2020. Their farms are in Finnmark and Rogaland in Norway, British Columbia and Newfoundland in Canada and Shetland in the UK. Grieg’s headquarters is located in Bergen, Norway. Grieg Seafood ASA was listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange in June 2007. More than 800 people are employed by the company globally. Sustainable farming practices are the foundation of Grieg’s operations.  To learn more, please visit www.griegseafood.com and www.griegseafoodcanada.com

 

About Scoot Science

Founded in 2017, Scoot Science is aquaculture’s leader in ocean analytics and forecasting. Scoot Science offers a wide range of products and services designed for fish farmers who need to understand ocean risks and protect their operations. Scoot Science delivers unified data access and analysis of your local ocean environment to mitigate the impact of ocean threats to farms.  For more information, visit ScootScience.com.

Q&A with Kristin Storry – Certifying farms in a pandemic

Kristin Storry, Certifications Manager for Grieg Seafood BC (right), and David Minato, Certifications Specialist at Grieg, pictured on their first ASC audit of Gore Island farm in 2019.

 

In aquaculture, achieving and maintaining third-party certifications is an important part of showing leadership in sustainable and responsible salmon farming.

In British Columbia, the two main certification bodies for sustainable salmon farming are the Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), and while Grieg has achieved its BAP certification at all its sites, it was in the middle of obtaining its first ASC Multi-site certification when the COVID-19 crisis hit.

But a global pandemic isn’t stopping Kristin Storry, Certifications Manager at Grieg Seafood BC. Her goal of having Grieg’s farms 100 percent ASC certified by 2021 is still on track – although there have been a few changes in the process.

Of course, the audit process looks quite a bit different now than it did when Grieg’s first four farms were granted ASC certification this year, but as Storry explains, it’s just a detour in Grieg’s journey to full certification.

We “sat down” with her digitally to talk about how she and her certification team have adapted to the current crisis, and how the certification goals for Grieg are going:

 

  1. How is Grieg’s goal to have all farms 100% ASC certified going so far?

Kristin Storry: It’s definitely going ahead on schedule. So far, Grieg has obtained four individual ASC certifications in Nootka Sound, with one other in the area expected to have the certificate issued by the end of May.

Multi-site ASC certification audits have been completed, and we’re expecting certification this June on the Sunshine Coast, as well as in August at one of our sites off east Vancouver Island called Barnes Bay. The remainder of Grieg’s farms are on track for certification by May 2021.  For our Sunshine Coast farms, there is a 65-business day lag to meet ASC public consultation requirements between the audit and the issuance of the multi-site certificate. The audits also can’t occur until the site is at 75% peak biomass, so we will be well into harvesting before the certificate is issued.  For Barnes Bay, the peak biomass and benthic sampling will not occur until late August. Afterwards it will be added to the multi-site certificate.

Going forward, all sites will ideally be added to the multi-site certificate, including the sites that currently hold individual certificates. Grieg BC has a very strong internal management system that supports a multi-site certification. The benefits of a multi-site certificate are reduced cost and reduced audit fatigue for the site staff.

 

  1. How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the “normal” ASC audit process?

KS: Well, we made the difficult decision to continue on with our audits as planned, however we made adjustments to ensure the health of our office and farm staff. We held the office portion in a hotel, staying isolated from the public, and travelled by float plane to the sites instead of by ferry and vehicles to reduce exposure to the public.

We also took precautions while on the site. We maintained distance from each other and employees, used hand sanitizer (multiple, multiple times), as well as gloves. We also engaged with the site staff to make sure we didn’t come into contact with any of them who might have been concerned or have compromised immune systems.

 

  1. How are employees on the farms going above and beyond to help with the ASC audits?

KS: The farm staff have been professional in their approach to the auditors and the certification staff as we were both understanding of what to do under COVID-19. They made sure that we had lots of available hand sanitizer and followed their site procedures. Mostly they just ensured that there was open communication and that we respected those that had concerns and adjusted our auditing accordingly.

At some sites, to reduce our exposure to the living quarters, we reviewed the paperwork in the feed shed or workshop and we even got delivered coffee to keep us as separate as possible.

The site staff was also willing to complete employee interviews by video conference, connecting the social auditor in Utah to the sea sites in Okisollo (Barnes) and Sechelt Inlet.

Communication is key to keeping everyone safe and implementing the proper practices, such as social distancing and self – monitoring. While we are not inspecting farms at this time, we feel confident that staff are looking out for each other and the salmon we grow.

 

  1. Why is it important to continue these audits during COVID-19 pandemic?

KS: Our farmers do such an excellent job of growing salmon that’s available fresh on a year-round basis, and the ASC certification is a way that we can communicate this to the public.

During these times, it’s more important than ever to ensure that we deliver a healthy, sustainable source of protein to the market.

 

During some site audits, Storry would have coffee delivered for the certification team to maintain distance from site staff.

  1. How are you ensuring your personal health and safety during this time?

KS: During and after the site audits were completed, our audit team self-monitored for any symptoms to ensure that we were healthy. The audit continued from my kitchen table virtually as we worked through the paperwork end digitally with the auditors.

As we set a high standard for looking after salmon, we also set a high standard for looking out for each other. This is important during these times. As the impact of COVID-19 changes over time, the certification department will ensure that we follow best practices, so our staff and their families remain healthy and safe.

 

  1. What’s next for Grieg’s certification team?

KS: We are focusing on adding the remaining 11 sites into our group BAP certificate and adding Esperanza into our multi-site ASC certificate in November. This will involve onsite visits, but again we will develop a safe and responsible plan with the site staff to ensure that the we can visit the sites, while reducing exposure and respecting staff concerns.

I am focused on keeping my children happy and healthy during this time, while getting work done from my kitchen table.

 

For more information on Grieg’s certification goals and progress, click here. 

Salmon farmers donate equivalent of 200,000 meals to Food Banks BC

CAMPBELL RIVER, BC – Salmon farmers in BC have joined forces to help the province’s food banks feed families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Companies including Grieg Seafood BC, Cermaq Canada, Mowi Canada West, Creative Salmon and Golden Eagle Aquaculture are donating roughly 60,000 pounds of salmon to food banks that are seeing increased demand due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

“This is a time for all industries to step up and support those most effected by COVID-19, and that’s exactly what BC’s salmon farmers are doing,” says John Paul Fraser, Executive Director of the BC Salmon Farmers Association. “Working with Food Banks Canada and Food Banks BC, we’re delighted to partner with BC-based businesses to can, process and transport BC farm-raised salmon, providing families with healthy protein produced here in the province.”

Food banks in BC help nearly 100,000 individuals each month, and say they expect an increase in demand to last beyond the pandemic as the economy slowly bounces back.

“In some instances, numbers have already doubled and we’re seeing line ups grow longer, yet food donations are down. Some people who were donors are now food bank recipients,” says Laura Lansink, Executive Director of Food Banks BC. “It’s a very stressful situation for our food banks and we anticipate we will feel the repercussions of this for one or two years into the future.”

Working together, salmon farmers are donating around 86,000 cans and 16,000 pounds of fresh salmon to be distributed to food banks across the province where it’s needed most.

 

New approaches to a new challenge

Due to the pandemic many food banks are shifting their distribution towards pre-packaged, shelf-stable foods that require less volunteer or client handling of products.

To accommodate this, Cermaq and Grieg approached St. Jean’s Cannery & Smokehouse (owned by Nuu-chah-nulth Seafood) in Nanaimo to can their fish for this donation.

“It was important for us to carefully consider the current situation and try a new approach, like canning, which makes our salmon easier to store, ship and handle,” says David Kiemele, Managing Director of Cermaq Canada and Chair of the BC Salmon Farmers Association.

“We know that a lot of people, families and communities have been financially impacted by the current COVID-19 pandemic, and we are happy to be able to supply food banks with over 30,000 pounds, which is equivalent to approximately 62,000 cans of responsibly farmed Cermaq salmon.  We would like to thank Nuu-chah-nulth Seafood for canning our fish during an especially busy period for their operations.”

For its part, Grieg will be donating 24,000 cans of salmon.

“There isn’t one person who’s not impacted by this pandemic. Every individual or business has the ability to help out in some way, whether that’s making surgical masks, hand sanitizer or simply practicing social distancing,” added Rocky Boschman, Managing Director of Grieg Seafood. “As salmon farmers, providing meals for families in need is where we can help, and for Grieg, donating cans of our salmon is a small ask during a big crisis.”

In early April, Mowi began distributing one-pound portions of Atlantic salmon to food banks in Campbell River and Port Hardy, donating 1,000 pounds a week. They have partnered with a Port Hardy company, Hardy Buoys Smoked Fish, to produce around 16,000 pounds of portions in the coming months for weekly delivery.

 

 

“These are challenging times for everyone. For the individuals and families in our communities who are struggling to put food on the table, foodbanks, soup kitchens and other support organizations play such an important role,” says Diane Morrison, Managing Director of Mowi Canada West.

“We are pleased to be able to provide them with support as we go through this crisis. During difficult days, communities come together, and we are proud to do our part.”

 

Pacific salmon farmers pitching in across BC

On the west coast of Vancouver Island, Creative Salmon farms organic chinook salmon. Working with Coastwise Processors, Creative is currently planning a canned salmon donation to help support food distribution efforts in the Tofino and Ucluelet area.

Golden Eagle Aquaculture, which operates a land-based salmon farm near Agassiz, has also committed to this industry donation by supplying four cases of its coho salmon to food banks on Vancouver Island.

“As food producers, we feel that the right thing to do is to ensure that families can access nutritious sources of protein,” says Terry Brooks, president of Golden Eagle Aquaculture. “We are all in this together, and we hope to help our community out by contributing the coho salmon we raise.”

 

Together, these five companies will provide the equivalent of over 200,000 meals for British Columbians, and Aquatrans Distributors Inc. is helping the meals get to those homes.

Ryan Brush, General Manager of Aquatrans in Delta, has been helping food banks on the Lower Mainland for years. When he heard about this BCSFA initiative, he made sure that a large majority of transportation costs would be covered by Aquatrans from the start.

This included the transport of salmon to Nanaimo for canning, as well as from St. Jean’s to three food bank hubs on the Island and the Lower Mainland. For the two hubs that lay outside of Aquatrans’ boundary, they arranged for a third-party distributor to get the canned salmon there.

“Aquatrans is grateful to be working with incredible companies that can come together and do good in a time when there is not a lot of good news,” Brush says. “We feel the food bank is an invaluable resource that we are proud to support.”

Mowi has committed to continue its weekly donations of fillets for the length of the COVID-19 crisis. Cermaq and Grieg’s salmon will be distributed to BC food banks by the end of April.

“I have been with Food Banks BC for nearly a decade and I have never received a donation like this before,” Lansink adds. “Protein donations truly are hard to come by, so we are so grateful to BC salmon farmers for stepping up, particularly at this time of COVID-19 when food, and especially protein, is in such short supply. This donation will make a tremendous impact on the individuals, families and children who simply can’t always afford to put food on their tables.”

“It’s not just the salmon we’re thankful for – it’s that you noticed, and you cared.”

 

More information:

  • One in every three food bank recipients in BC is a child.
  • Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 50 per cent of British Columbians lived paycheque to paycheque
  • Cermaq Canada is donating approximately 62,000 cans of salmon, with Grieg Seafood donating 24,000, and Mowi contributing more than 16,000 lbs of fillets.
  • Mowi has committed to continue its weekly donations of fillets for the length of the COVID-19 crisis. Cermaq and Grieg’s salmon is currently in the canning process and will be ready for distribution to BC food banks by the end of April.
  • Properly stored, canned salmon has a shelf life of three to five years.
  • In March, Cermaq, Grieg and Mowi donated barrels of Hydrogen Peroxide to Shelter Point Distillery to help create hand sanitizer for frontline workers on the North-Central Island

 

 

For Media inquiries:

Michelle Franze

Manager of Communications, Partnerships and Community

BC Salmon Farmers Association

michelle@bcsalmonfarmers.ca

First group BAP certification issued for six Grieg farms

Salten farm, located off the Sunshine Coast, was one of six Grieg Seafood farms that achieved group BAP certification on March 30, 2020.

 

On March 30, the Global Aquaculture Alliance granted Grieg Seafood BC its first ever Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification for a group.

The farms that received group certification simultaneously are Barnes Bay in Okisollo Channel and Culloden, Site 13, Salten, Vantage Point and Ahlstrom Point all off the Sunshine Coast.

“Grieg has held individual Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certificates at our active farms since 2012, but Group Certification is different in that several farms are audited and certified under one certificate (in this case six sites) as there are additional clauses covered under the Group Standard,” explained Kristin Storry, Certifications Manager for Grieg.

“I want to send a huge congratulations to these six farms,” she added. “It’s their accomplishment, especially given the challenging situation they were in with covid-19 precautions, but they still accommodated the audits and had their sites in immaculate condition.

Compliance to this certificate type is dependent on Grieg having a centralized management system with strong controls and oversight over all the sites.

“The achievement of the Group Certificate is recognition of the hard work over the past year by Grieg to hold the company to a higher level of excellence with the implementation of the Grieg Seafood Excellence Program,” Storry said.

“This program focuses on the development of standardized procedures, improved training programs, and monitoring to hold ourselves accountable internally and ensure we function at the highest level of excellence in all aspects of our operations.”

The goal is to have 100% of Grieg’s farms under the BAP group certificate by early 2021, which will reduce the time needed for farm staff to host external audits on their farms, so employees can focus on growing healthy salmon.

“These are extraordinary times with this global pandemic, and everyone really came together to make this audit a success during this challenging time,” Storry said.

“It’s truly a testament to their commitment and dedication to growing seafood sustainably.”

Q&A with Grieg’s veterinarian Dr. Patrick Whittaker – the PRV debate

 

Dr. Patrick Whittaker has been Grieg Seafood BC’s veterinarian since 2016. He graduated from the Western College of Veterinarian Medicine in Saskatoon in 2004 and practiced in both Alberta and New Zealand.

Although he began his vet experience with cows and other farm animals, Dr. Whittaker’s relationship with salmon goes back to his childhood, as his dad was an avid fresh and saltwater sport fisherman on Vancouver Island. Dr. Whittaker grew up in the Comox Valley and loves to fish in his spare time.

We spoke to Dr. Whittaker about his research and findings on BC’s strain of Piscine orthoreovirus (known as PRV-1a) since he began with Grieg.

 

  1. What is PRV-1a?

Piscine orthoreovirus (PRV) is a common virus of salmon and can infect both Atlantic and Pacific salmonids. The vast majority of infections do not result in disease. Science has shown most of the time that the virus is contained within the host fish, it doesn’t transmit to infect other fish/organisms. Research suggests infected salmon may test positive but are not always infectious. There is a narrow time window when a salmon may transmit PRV-1a to other salmon, but outside of that window, it will not impact other fish. For example, at our Barnes Bay farm, our fish were infected in 2019 and now in 2020 currently test positive, but we know that they will not infect the wild salmon outmigration this year.

 

  1. Was PRV-1a brought to the Pacific Ocean from the Atlantic? What is the history of the virus?

The oldest known detection of PRV-1a was from BC wild Pacific salmon from 1977, more than a decade before fish farming began in BC.  A variety of theories are out there as to the origins of PRV-1a, but one theory is related to all the stocking of Atlantic Salmon and Brown trout by the provincial government nearly a century ago when they were trying to establish recreational fishing.

 

  1. Good animal husbandry requires that salmon farmers need to decrease the transfer of pathogens between wild and farmed salmon, but what is your opinion on the transfer of PRV-1a and its impact on both wild and farmed salmon?

All our salmon are stocked into the ocean pens without PRV-1a.  Like all farm animals living in the natural environment, they are exposed to viruses existing in the water and on wild fish and become infected at some point in their time from some natural reservoir, potentially wild salmon.  There is no impact to our salmon of this infection, the only way to know is to routinely test.  Research has shown that once infected, and like many pathogens, there is an infectious phase, then a return to a latent or dormant phase.  More work needs to be done to fully understand the dynamics involved.  So far, work at Fisheries & Oceans Canada (DFO), the University of British Columbia and Washington State University’s Aquatic Health Section suggests that in the lab Pacific salmon can be experimentally infected with no consequence or effect.  Despite the absence of salmon farming in Alaska, the PRV-1a virus has been found in the river systems in that state, in addition to Washington state and British Columbia.

 

  1. There is a lot of speculation that salmon farmers do not screen their fish for PRV-1a and other diseases before transferring them to the ocean. Is this true?

No, it’s not true that we don’t screen for this virus. Since 2016, Grieg BC has been routinely screening every batch of smolts produced in our hatchery, as well as external contract hatcheries and supplemental smolt purchases all before they are transferred to our ocean pens.  To this date every test has been negative.

 

  1. If Grieg’s salmon are put into the ocean without PRV-1a, why do they test positive for it at various lengths of time after?

The marine environment is a complex place, with a diverse ecosystem.  We have determined during our testing that our farm fish become positive for PRV-1a at different points in time, and months after we place the fish in the pens.  That time period can vary, and we are not sure why. At one of our Sechelt farms, for example, our PRV-1a-free salmon were placed in pens 12 months ago and recently in 2020 we identified that they had PRV-1a.

Grieg and the other BC salmon farming companies have investigated wild fish species around their farms to determine if they are carrying PRV1-a.  To the date of this interview (February 2020), in BC the only other fish species found to have PRV1-a is Pacific salmon, so this suggests that wild salmon migrating past fish farms could be the source of PRV1-a.

 

  1. How often do you test your salmon for PRV-1a and other diseases once they’re placed in the farm pens? Why?

We routinely test our farm fish in our lab at minimum every three months.  If there are any changes or concerns, then we visit the source farm immediately to conduct additional in-depth testing.  At Grieg, we are involved in a variety of research projects internally as well as research collaborations with DFO scientists, and other academic institutions with similar marine research interests.  At some of our farm areas we have tested for the absence or presence of PRV-1a on a monthly basis to better pinpoint the timing of this infection.

 

  1. What are you seeing out at your sites right now? Are there any areas that you are testing and seeing positive results come in? Will all farmed fish eventually get PRV-1a?

So far as is our understanding, yes, all our company’s salmon will eventually become infected with PRV-1a.  DFO’s Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat’s more recent paper on PRV (https://waves-vagues.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/Library/4080530x.pdf) also discusses this infection rate for farm fish. In late summer 2019, our Nootka Sound farms became infected, while in the fall of 2019 one of three of our farms on the Sunshine Coast was identified with the PRV-1a virus.  I expect the other two will likely be infected as well.

 

  1. What can salmon farmers do to mitigate the transfer of PRV-1a between wild fish and farmed fish?

With continued research to identify and monitor the timing of infection of this virus on farm fish, we hope to be able to pinpoint the source of infection and potentially find ways to mitigate the spread from wild to farmed.

 

Dr. Patrick Whittaker is Grieg Seafood BC’s veterinarian and an avid fisherman.

GRIEG SEAFOOD BC ADDS NEW ROLE OF DIRECTOR OF RECONCILIATION

 

 

CAMPBELL RIVER, BC – In its ongoing efforts to recognize the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the Province of BC’s Bill 41 and Canada’s steps towards reconciliation, Grieg Seafood BC has created a new position – the Director of Reconciliation.

Orland “OD” Hansen, who is of Inuit-Danish descent, recently accepted the position and joins the Grieg BC family with over 20 years of experience in Indigenous relations in the oil and gas industry.

“We are very excited to welcome Orland Hansen to the Grieg team,” said Rocky Boschman, Managing Director of Grieg Seafood BC. “His professional and personal experience in Indigenous relations and reconciliation will help us grow, not only as a company, but as people and partners going forward.”

“We appreciate the value and importance of our Indigenous partners in the territories where our farms are operating, but I think there are a lot more opportunities to learn from them, listen to them and grow with them. Having our employees recognize UNDRIP and our commitment to reconciliation will be a part of that, and this will be supported by the insight Orland has developed over several decades.”

As the Director of Reconciliation, Hansen will work with coastal Indigenous communities. He will then liaise with Grieg BC’s employees to help the company move towards better understanding of the importance and purpose of reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous peoples, as well as UNDRIP.

“I thought that it was very interesting and forward-thinking for a company to appreciate that the climate is changing across the country in every industry,” Hansen said. “To me, it’s progressive for a company like this to realize, ‘Let’s be in front of the curve and lead by example, let’s become engaged now rather than because you have to, and take the lead.’”

“I think it’s going to be an educational tool so that everyone has an appreciation of where they are, why they’re here and that we should appreciate that we are allowed to be here. It’s important to have that appreciation because then they can build relationships and partnerships that work for everyone, as opposed to a process where you check off consultation and have no regard for the desires of the Indigenous peoples.”

This vision of approaching reconciliation from within the company is what sold Hansen on taking the job and is ultimately what is taking him away from Calgary and the oil-and-gas industry he’s known for 30 years.

 

Background:

Hansen “grew up in the bush” with his hunting and trapping family in Aklavik, Northwest Territories. He fondly recalls growing up in that small community and getting around via dog teams in the winter. He attended Residential School for four year in Inuvik as a teenager before entering the oil and gas industry in the 70’s.

In the late 80’s Hansen got married and grew interested in politics, first becoming a councillor for the Hamlet of Aklavik then the mayor, but when children entered the picture, Hansen chose his family over his roots and he and his wife relocated to Calgary to be closer to better health and education systems.

Hansen received his applied degree in Petroleum Engineering Technology from SAIT in 1997 and began travelling back and forth between Alberta and NWT. As the lead on many projects in NWT, Hansen became more involved with Indigenous engagement and consultation.

He realized that working with Indigenous communities was where his heart was and decided to go into Indigenous relations full time for energy companies. Prior to accepting the position with Grieg Seafood in February, Hansen “cut his teeth” in Indigenous relations with Schlumberger as the Aboriginal Affairs Advisor, then most recently for Husky Energy.

In his spare time, Hansen enjoys stone and bone carving and is looking forward to meeting some west coast artists, learning from them and possibly doing a collaboration.

OD Hansen taking in the view as he flies over Grieg Seafood BC’s farms in Nootka Sound.

On reconciliation:

“I’m really excited,” Hansen said about his role. “This is dear to me, and something I’d really like to do. It shows respect. It shows that the company and their ideals are such that they have an appreciation of where they are and of the people that are indigenous to that area. It’s in my job title, but I would have to gain appreciation from the communities here and what they think reconciliation means to them and what they think we as a company should be working towards.”

“The onus is now on industry as well as government to keep [reconciliation] going, to keep showing that you’re serious about working with communities, about listening to them and following up on it – taking their advice and requests and actually doing something about it.”

One of Hansen’s first tasks at Grieg is to help the Indigenous & Community Relations department host five members from three partner First Nations in Norway March 1 – 6 to tour farm operations, a hatchery and processing plant.

“I’m really excited,” Hansen said. “What excites me is a newer industry, new province, and a new world on the west coast. It’s beautiful here. I love it already and I’m excited to meet the community members – really excited.”

GRIEG SEAFOOD BC CELEBRATES NEW $40 MILLION WELLBOAT AND FIRST ASC CERTIFICATIONS  

 

MEDIA RELEASE, FEB. 12, 2020

VICTORIA, BC – On Sunday, Feb. 9, Canada’s most technologically advanced aquaculture wellboat docked in Victoria after a long journey from Norway.

Grieg Seafood’s newest vessel, the Ronja Islander, completed construction in Norway in late 2019, and was custom built to address some of BC’s salmon farming challenges, including sea lice and safe fish handling during live transfers to farms.

“We designed the Ronja Islander using input from our stakeholders and Indigenous partners. We heard some of their concerns around salmon farming in BC and turned those concerns into solutions when we built the vessel,” says Dean Trethewey, Seawater Production Director at Grieg Seafood BC who led the wellboat project.

“The transfer of sea lice from wild fish to farmed fish is an ongoing issue for our industry and for British Columbians who are concerned for wild salmon migrating by our farms, and this wellboat is here to help with that. In addition to its state-of-the-art removal treatments for sea lice, the process features 100% capture of the detached lice which will be disposed on land. This is important to us and to wild salmon.”

The vessel’s arrival comes on the heels of last week’s announcement out of Norway that Grieg BC’s parent company, Grieg Seafood ASA, is growing its Canadian operations to now include the province of Newfoundland & Labrador.

“It’s exciting to see Grieg Seafood ASA investing in both the west and east coasts of Canada, with this wellboat the latest investment in our BC operations,” says Trethewey. “This just shows how confident Grieg Seafood is in the growth of our company and the growth of aquaculture in Canada.”

The CAD $40 million wellboat will operate on both coasts of Vancouver Island, servicing 16 of Grieg Seafood’s salmon farms.

The Ronja Islander features the world’s most advanced fish-handling technology during both treatments and live transfers to reduce stress for the salmon. New technology also ensures that in the rare event that any wild fish are captured during fish transfers, they will be separated from the farmed salmon and safely released back into the ocean.

“Sea lice treatment is a critical feature of the Ronja Islander, but the overall improvement in salmon welfare for both farmed and wild fish that the boat handles is just as important,” Trethewey says.

“We are always looking for ways to do and be better, and this vessel is not only the result of new technological advances in aquaculture – it’s the result of listening to the concerns of our partners and those who call BC’s coast home.”

This spring, the artwork of Kwakwaka’wakw artist Patrick Hunt will be installed on the bow and stack of the Ronja Islander. The Salmon Princess was designed specifically for the vessel, inspired by a combination of the company’s Norwegian roots and the importance of salmon to BC’s coast.

 

Kwakwaka’wakw artist Patrick Hunt’s design, the Salmon Princess, will be installed on the bow and stack of the Ronja Islander this spring.

“Including Indigenous culture in the design of the vessel was important to us, and we are grateful to collaborate with Patrick Hunt in this process,” said Marilyn Hutchinson, Director of Indigenous & Community Relations at Grieg. “The Ronja Islander will be working in the traditional territories of many coastal Nations, and we hope this art initiative can convey how much Grieg respects the inclusion of First Nations in our operations.”

The Ronja Islander will leave Victoria later this week to begin operations on Grieg’s west coast farms. One of its first duties will be to work at Grieg’s very first Aquaculture Stewardship Council-certified farms in Nootka Sound.

Grieg achieves first ASC certification at two farms

As part of its recently launched Excellence Program, Grieg Seafood BC has made its first steps towards achieving Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification at all its farms.

Two of Grieg’s five salmon farms operating in Nootka Sound have been granted ASC certification in the past two weeks, the highest standard of independent certification in the world for responsibly farmed seafood. To achieve ASC certification, farms are audited against over 500 indicators or markers, including environmental and social criteria.

Three other farms in the area have recently undergone successful audits and are expected to also be granted ASC certification. Six of Grieg’s farms on the Sunshine Coast and in Okisollo Channel near Quadra Island are now under assessment.

“This is an important first step for Grieg BC as we strive to have 100 percent of our farms ASC certified by 2021,” says Rocky Boschman, Managing Director for Grieg Seafood BC.

“Our salmon farmers and certification team have worked hard to achieve the gold standard in aquaculture certification at these farms. I am very proud of them for representing Grieg’s dedication to excellence in social and environmental sustainability, health and safety, and transparency of our operations.”

The farms that received ASC certification are Williamson and Muchalat North. The others, Gore Island, Atrevida and Concepcion, are expected to also receive the certification soon.

Muchalat North is one of Grieg Seafood BC’s farms that was granted ASC certification recently.

Quick facts:

On the Ronja Islander:
• Length overall 69.86 m, tonnage approximately 1850 GT,
• Volume of cargo hold = 1800 m3 of water
• Accommodation for up to 12 crew members
• 100% closed-system technology during fish transport
• Innovative side-loading pump for better flushing and circulation of water
• Full ultra-violet system for disinfecting circulating water in cargo hold during live fish transfers.
• Full collection and on-land disposal of sea lice after removal during fresh water and hydrogen peroxide treatments
• Built-in system for mixing oxygen into the water in the hold.

On ASC:
• ASC was founded in 2010 by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative (DSTI) to manage the global standards for responsible aquaculture and included nearly a decade of meeting with scientists, environmental organizations, industry and academia.
• In addition to attaining ASC certification, Grieg BC achieved its Occupational Safety Standards of Excellence (OSSE) certification in October 2019 which is recognized by WorkSafe BC.

On Grieg Seafood BC:
• Grieg Seafood BC is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary in the province.
• 13 of Grieg BC’s farms operate in partnership with First Nations.
• Grieg BC’s farms are located in Nootka Sound and Esperanza Inlet on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Clio and Okisollo Channels on the east coast, as well as Jervis, Salmon and Sechelt Inlets on the Sunshine Coast of BC, north of Vancouver.

 

Media:

For media interviews on the Ronja Islander, contact:

Dean Trethewey
Seawater Production Director
Dean.trethewey@griegseafood.com

 

For media interviews on Grieg’s certification achievement or for more information, contact:

Kristin Storry, RPBio
Certification Manager, Grieg BC
Kristin.storry@griegseafood.com

 

For media interviews about Grieg Seafood’s expansion into Newfoundland, contact:

Kristina Furnes
Global Communications Manager
Kristina.furnes@griegseafood.com

Tahsis welcomes filmmaker Mike Downie

Mike Downie with students at Captain Meares Elementary Secondary School in Tahsis, BC.

 

It was our honour to help the community of Tahsis bring in the award-winning documentary filmmaker Mike Downie, brother of the late Gord Downie from The Tragically Hip, to speak about Truth & Reconciliation to over 100 students and Elders from the west coast of Vancouver Island on Oct. 18.

Students from School District 84 (Gold River, Kyuquot, Zeballos and Tahsis) heard Mike speak about his goal to inspire Canadians to walk a path of reconciliation and help bring together Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. He also played the animated film Secret Path, which he worked on with his brother before Gord’s passing two years ago. The Secret Path tells the true story of Chanie Wenjack, a 12-year-old boy who died while trying to escape from a residential school and travel back home to his family over 400 miles away.

“A huge thank you to Grieg Seafood, the Tahsis Fire Department and the Mowachaht Muchalaht First Nation Health Department,” said Allison Stiglitz, a teacher who organized the event.

“Thanks to all of you, Mike Downie delivered an extremely important message. His story acknowledged our nation’s lack of understanding about residential schools, hopefully giving our youth more insight on the trauma inflicted over decades, so when they grow into young adults, one by one, they have more knowledge, kindness and understanding… Mike accomplished this with far more impact than I ever imagined.”

Mike is currently the co-founder of the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund.

 

Grieg challenges Mowi, Cermaq to grow Best Salmon Farmer Stache

Grieg Seafood BC’s Movember teammates show off their mustaches in 2018. This year Grieg has challenged Mowi Canada West and Cermaq Canada to grow the ‘Best Salmon Farmer Stache’ with proceeds to the Movember Foundation.

 

Salmon farming is usually about growing fish, but this November, it’s also about growing facial hair – for a good cause, of course.

This month Grieg Seafood BC, Cermaq Canada and Mowi Canada West are competing to see which company can grow the best ‘Salmon Farmer Stache’ with proceeds going towards the Movember Foundation.

Each November, many companies and individuals across Canada participate in Movember, a facial-hair growing initiative that raises vital funds and awareness to combat prostate and testicular cancer, poor mental health and physical inactivity.

“We know all of our salmon farming companies already have teams that participate in Movember. It’s fun for us employees and goes to such a great cause. We figured, why not challenge the other companies to grow the Best Salmon Farmer Stache and have some fun with it?” said Liam Peck, an Environmental Specialist at Grieg.

Grieg Seafood put out the challenge to Mowi and Cermaq on Oct. 25 via Facebook, and it didn’t take long for the other companies to accept.

“Movember is an important awareness campaign which brings attention to important and serious health issues for men, in a fun and relatable way,” said David Kiemele, Managing Director for Cermaq Canada. “We’ve been participating in the event for several years, but were excited to hear that Grieg wanted to make it a competition as it’s a good opportunity to get to know our peer companies while having some fun and raising needed funds for research and education.”

“Movember does a great job of raising awareness of a really important cause,” said Josh Visser, Financial Accountant at Mowi Canada West.  “The idea of a challenge between the salmon farming companies is a great one and I look forward to seeing all those ‘staches out there.”

By the end of November, each company will choose a delegate who best represents their Mo-growing efforts.

Of the three furry finalists, a winner will be selected by the BC Salmon Farmers Association, who will then donate $500 to the winning team’s campaign.

“The event holds special meaning for me as my immediate family has been impacted by prostate cancer,” Kiemele said about Movember. “I encourage other companies to get involved and help support to movement.”

“We’ve got some pretty competitive Mo-bros in the salmon farming industry,” added Peck. “If we can rock some great ‘staches while raising awareness for a good cause, it’s a win-win.”