Shaun Edgars prepares for a flight to Courtenay.

Shaun Edgars prepares for a flight to Courtenay.

Haida Seafood Products graduates Old Massett divers

Haida Seafood Products is pleased to announce that seven dive students have completed the "Restricted Surface Supply" diver course.

Haida Seafood Products is pleased to announce that seven Old Massett dive students have successfully completed the “Restricted Surface Supply” diver certification course delivered in Old Massett by DiveSafe International.

The divers celebrated their graduation with family and friends on Aug. 24 at the Old Massett Senior’s Hall. DiveSafe International’s owner Kelly Korol said that he was very impressed with the student’s commitment and enthusiasm during the course and that they showed a natural ability and eagerness to learn and acquire this particular commercial dive certification that is required for geoduck aquaculture.

Haida Seafood Products CEO Daniel Rabu stated that this was the first tangible milestone for the company planning to develop sustainable geoduck aquaculture on Haida Gwaii.

“Now that we have trained our first team of divers, the next step for us is to get the Province of British Columbia to grant us a tenure (farm site) and for the Federal Government to issue us a geoduck aquaculture license, which unfortunately has been held up by DFO as they continue to delay a new policy that would allow geoduck aquaculture in the North Coast,” he said.

“We have been working with local, provincial and federal governments to facilitate this process but politics and bureaucracy keep slowing the process down … I am hopeful that we will be breaking through the red tape soon and that we will be successful in putting our divers to work here on Haida Gwaii, close to home while creating some much needed employment. I believe that this will have a beneficial impact on the Island’s economy and that one day, ‘geoduck farming’ will set a new standard for sustainable aquaculture on Haida Gwaii”.

This past week, Haida Seafood Products sent one of its newly certified divers, Shaun Edgars, down to Courtenay on Vancouver Island for some dive work on a geoduck farm owned by one of Haida Seafood Products partners.

“Shaun will be getting valuable experience working with some of the best aquaculture divers in the industry. This is an exciting opportunity for him … However, it is unfortunate that they have to go all the way down to Vancouver Island for work instead of working close to their family and community on Haida Gwaii. Nevertheless, we are grateful to our partner and their divers for the opportunity” said Rabu.

“We are starting to see some encouraging results stemming from three years of planning and hard work and we look forward to announcing the building start of our shellfish hatchery in Sandspit,” he said.

“Once we get the tenure in Haida Gwaii, all of our divers, and more, will start seeding the farm site and Haida Seafood Products will be on its way to sustainably producing some of the highest value seafood there is; geoduck clams!”