In 2008, Chief Ken Brown as President of Klahoose Shellfish, with support of the Board of Directors and Klahoose Council, successfully negotiated the purchase of a 50% interest of a 34-hectare sub-tidal Geoduck Farm. The tenure is situated outside of Squirrel Cove on the eastern shore of Cortes Island. To host a suitable growth habitat for the geoducks the tenure itself is 50 feet underwater!
In 2010, Klahoose Shellfish entered into a partnership with the University of British Columbia to grow over 300,000 geoduck seed that were planted under a canopy of nets on the ocean floor. After the initial plantation an additional 600,000 seed was added and brought our total of planted seed up to almost one million. In this groundbreaking effort, Klahoose, was the first Aboriginal Nation to successfully create a partnership in this rewarding industry.
The here and now
A new phase of work has continued with the intent of creating a greater economic vision. After the successful planting program Klahoose Shellfish purchased the remaining shares of the company. We are now the 100% owners of Argosy Sea Farms and the 34-hectare deep water license. In 2017, 9 nine years after our initial purchase of the Argosy tenure, and seven years after planting, we are now beginning to harvest and get some returns on the original investments.
Divers will be going down into the areas planted in 2010 digging up our cultured stock. We anticipate the animals will be about 400-700 grams in size. The product will be heading over to China for the Chinese New Year at the end of January. This is a highly sought after, highly prized and valued product in China and we are eager to be a part of this industry.
The exciting news is that there is an opportunity for band members to be trained aboard the vessel to learn the fundamentals of geoduck science and extraction. In the near future we wish to have greater involvement from our Klahoose membership in this industry. To reach our goals in doing so, we will be working with training groups such as North Vancouver Island Aboriginal Training Society to build capacity. Klahoose Shellfish Limited Partnership (KSLP) will design a training program to further existing knowledge and introduce band members to this sector.
This really is the start of a new day for our geoduck farm. Klahoose are leaders in economic development in forestry, green energy and now in geoduck aquaculture. Now that we have reached harvest we anticipate great things to come.