Richmond-based company partners with First Nations for ‘historic’ investment

Richmond-based Premium Brands of British Columbia partnered with a coalition of Mi’kmaq First Nations and made a $1 billion purchase of Clearwater Seafoods on Monday.

This collaboration is “the single largest investment in the seafood industry by any Indigenous group in Canada,” according to a joint news release by the Mi’kmaq coalition – led by the Membertou band in Cape Breton and Miawpukek band in Newfoundland and Labrador – and Clearwater.

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Premium Brands and the Mi’kmaq First Nations coalition will each own 50 per cent of the Halifax-based fishing company.

However, Clearwater will continue to operate as its own entity to make sure the company’s progression stays the same for its brand and employees, the statement noted.

George Paleologou, CEO of Premium Brands, said the partnership will help grow the leading global seafood company.

 “We are proud to partner with the Mi’kmaq First Nations communities in this unique opportunity to enhance participation in commercial fisheries at the same time building the seafood portfolio within the Premium Brand ecosystem,” said Paleologou.

Meanwhile, Membertou Chief Terry Paul called this partnership a “transformational opportunity” for the Mi’kmaq to be a part of the commercial fishery through the investment in “existing infrastructure, management expertise and a global market presence.”

“Mi’kmaq not only become 50 per cent owners of the company, but expect to hold Clearwater’s Canadian fishing licenses within a fully Mi’kmaq-owned partnership,” said Membertou.

“Each of Paqtnkek, Pictou Landing, Potlotek, Spiekne’katik and We’koqma’q have confirmed their intention to participate with Membertou and Miaqpukek in this historic investment.”

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