The first fish farm in Canada was established up Sechelt inlet, for several reason. I will here document this beginning that became a new Canadian Gold rush. It will take me some time, and I welcome input and pictures, because I have lost all of mine. Also the news paper clippings, TV news, documentaries etc., of that time.
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Chapman Creek Hatchery, the first commercial in B.C. Here are Tom May talking to two Chinese Marine Biologist Professors I brought on a visit to his Nelson Island Farms, where he tried som small-scale research.
Visiting Knut Solli’s salmon farm up Sechelt Inlet. Knut is a carpenter and build a real nice floating house, floating concrete docks, and used some of Oppdrett Service equipment from Norway.
Visiting Bjorn Skei’s fish farm, Sechelt Inlet. Bjorn build a two stories floating house, and build all his fish pens himself. Visiting Bjorn, one has to knock on the door with his elbows, or to say it clearly, at least one bottle in each hand. Some cheap visitors could not understand that; than again, they are real visitors.
John Slind. John was the very first fish farmer in the Sechelt Inlet. Home made nets, built his own floating home, he developed all the methods himself, no help from anywhere, indeed the government tried to stop the first pioneers.
Brad and June Hope. Brad and June lived on Nelson Island, in the tidal Inlet from Billings Bay. They had made som home-made pens, raising som Coho, and learned as they went on. Brad was the first to go public many years later, and became the first fish farm milioneers. Brad’s operation was the one that most people visited, and tried to copy.
Tom and Linda May. They were also on Nelson Island, another inlet, more accessable, and Tom was also interested in hatching the salmon eggs, and producing fry for himself and others. He later build the Chapman Creek Hatchery, the first and largest on the Sunshine Coast. This is the hatchery that produced all the first smolts for all the farms.
Sauli Kieksi. from Finland, he had experience from there and from Norway. Sauli build a large floating farm in the Agamemnon Channel, and later one with a hatchery up Jervis Inlet. He later sold out th B.C.Packers, a major fish company in B.C. Sauli has farmed everything, from crocodiles in Africa, to black pearls in the Pacific, something he still does.
Norb and Yvonne Kraft. A Sunshine coast developer, he early recognized the potentials of the fish farm industry, and the gold rush about it. They build their own floating home and farm, and later went public and sold out. One of the many that made millions of the first wave of farms.
Bjorn Skei. Bjorn ran a plumbing company, but as a Norwegian he saw the opportunities in fish farming and jumped on the bandwagon. He built a floating home, installed Oppdrettservice pens up Sechelt Inlet, and became one of the most visited farms, because of his hospitality and nature.
Knut Solli. Another Norwegian, carpenter and decided to get in on the gold-rush. He build a nice floating house, and installed Oppdrettservice pens and his place was about half way up the Sechelt Inlet.
Roger Engeset, Wood Bay Salmon Farms. Roger came from Norway and with large investment and installed a major farm in Wood Bay, an exposed area in Georgia Straight. He used Undertun type pens, and they could easily handle 3 m. waves. Roger built the first processing plant in Wood Bay, and later a major salmon smoking factory at Field Rd. in Sechelt.
A lot of salmon farms was started in these years, I will try to mention most of them. At this time some farms started off Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island, off Campbell River, in Port Hardy and several other places.