The Namgis First Nation, sole owners and shareholders of Kuterra, on April 6 voted “overwhelmingly” in favour of pursuing a process to look for outside investment in the company to maximize its value, the company tells Aquaculture North America (ANA).
The land-based Atlantic salmon farm on northern Vancouver Island in British Columbia is looking to break even this year, but “Namgis are no longer in a position carry the financial risk of the venture, and are keen to see other investors share in the development of Kuterra,” the company said in March.
The vote on April 6 is a “key element” of the process to look for a buyer or partner to pursue the company’s development. “Because Kuterra is on reserve land, there are very special rules and federal regulations covering what can and can’t be done with reserve land in Canada. So the Namgis members had to vote on whether they could designate a parcel of their reserve for lease purposes,” spokeswoman Josephine Mrozewski tells ANA.
Mrozewski says the result of the vote is crucial. “It is allowing Kuterra to undertake a sale process because it will offer security to any potential buyer or investor,” she says.
Kuterra is now waiting for approval of the leasing process by the Federal Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs in Ottawa. “The timing of that process is, to a large extent, controlled by the Federal Government and we will just wait for that to play out,” says Mrozewski.
She adds the Kuterra’s team continues to talk with potential investors, however, a sale cannot be made until the ministerial approval of the lease process is obtained.