For more than a decade, the Sewid’s business Qwe’Qwa’Sot’em Faith Aquaculture Ltd. has contributed to the smooth operation of Marine Harvest sites by providing a variety of support services as well as a stable career for the employees of the company.
“We help with anything to do with farming fish” said Harold, who was born in Alert Bay. He became a deckhand on a seiner at age 9 and a captain at age 19. He was passed down his clan chieftainship from his late father Bob in 1997. The three family boats supply a wide range of support to the farm sites including delivering feed, mort removal, installing nets, pulling dirty nets,towing pens and houses, anchoring and more.
As the commercial fishing and the logging industry began to decline, Harold looked for employment opportunities for his family in the aquaculture industry. Although his late father and other band members were originally against Harold’s involvement with the industry, after several meetings with Stolt Sea Farm, Bob saw the many opportunities for employment with the industry. They started with pulling dirty nets and the rest is history.
The boats he originally used weren’t adequate for the job, leading the family to purchase the Atlantic Harvester, a self propelled landing craft which was modified to do the work on the sites.
Harold’s fleet of boats includes not only the Atlantic Harvester but the Pacific Faith and the Nordic Queen. Harold considers the 62 foot long aluminum Pacific Faith the flag ship. It was built in 1989. “She’s a beautiful boat and I helped design her,” said the 53 year old with obvious pride.
The Atlantic Harvester is the longest of the three, at 67 feet long and 24 feet wide. It’s designed to land on beaches and has working deck space of 50 by 24 feet and is used for a variety of jobs. The Nordic Queen is 65 feet long and is used as a stand by vessel for other fish farm related duties.
The business supports 11 people on a full time, permanent basis as well as 10 part time and another dozen people as needed.
Not only has his business provided stable employment for First Nations people, but it provides Harold a firsthand view of the changes in the industry as technology advances.
“I’ve seen improvements over the years and they have been very significant” says Harold.
In between running his businesses, Harold has also made the time to be involved with the Aboriginal Aquaculture Association as a board member. It was created to get positive information out to First Nation Communities. He said, “I have seen attitudes change positively over the years, as First Nations see the many opportunities that exist with aquaculture in general”.
By Gina Forsyth