Looking out into Sooke Basin and the area where the T'Sou-ke want to have an oyster farm.

T’Sou-ke seek oyster farm approval in basin

Sooke's T'Sou-ke First Nation band want to set up an oyster farm to supply food and jobs.

Getting out from under the Indian Act and becoming self sufficient and self sustaining is the goal of T’Sou-ke First Nation Chief Gordon Planes.

The T’Sou-ke have filed a notice of intention to Apply for Disposition of Crown Land to begin an oyster farm in Sooke Basin.

“This is just the beginning,” said Planes as he talked about the initiatives being brought forward by the band.

He said the oyster farming scenario is just in its infancy right now and they were seeking approval from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO) before moving any further forward.

He said they have “expertise” in the field and they do have partners, and they are looking at their options.

Two of the reasons the band decided to apply for Licence of Occupation in the basin was because of the pollution.

“The basin is polluted and if we harvest our traditional clams and food we can’t eat them,” said Planes.

He feels that developing an industry oyster harvest operation will help them bring  some of their staple food back into their diets.

The other reason is jobs. Planes said the dollars earned will ensure the health of the community and their traditional territory.

Written comments on the application can be directed to the Manager, Aquaculture, MFLNRO, 2500 Cliffe Avenue, Courtney, B.C. V9N 5M6 or email to: AuthorizingAgency.Nanaimo@gov.bc.ca. Comments will be received until May 9.