Chinook salmon

The Creative Salmon story

Creative Salmon is a Canadian company located in beautiful Tofino, BC, on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Creative Salmon was founded in 1990 by a group of investors committed to raising indigenous Chinook salmon. Although one of the smallest salmon farming companies in the world, we are fully integrated, from producing our own broodstock and smolts to raising and harvesting the fish and processing them in a plant located right on the dock in Tofino.

In the early days, under the guidance of the company’s first General Manager Bill Vernon, Creative Salmon had just four employees and one farm (the 11th in all of British Columbia) that stocked 20,000 Chinook.

Today, we employ 55 people full-time year round, operate four farms simultaneously with our six site tenures, and through our parent-company Lions Gate Fisheries, process our Chinook and distribute the fish to locations in Canada, the United States, and Japan.

Creative Salmon operates in the traditional territory of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, one of our most important neighbours and stakeholders. Back in 1998 we established a full-time Aboriginal Liaison position – becoming the first salmon farming company in B.C. to formalize such a role. In July 2014, after two decades of relationship building and cooperative effort, we finalized a protocol agreement with the Tla-o-qui-aht which establishes guiding principles for our farming operations within their traditional territory.

Creative Salmon originally followed more traditional and widely-used salmon farming techniques. But in 1995 we decided to try doing things differently.

Creative Salmon started trialing pens without antibiotics; the effort proved successful and so the shift away from antibiotics continued. We have not treated our market fish with antibiotics since 2001. Around 1995 the company also started its Environmental Monitoring Program. Creative Salmon’s internal program preceded regulatory requirements to monitor environmental conditions. In fact, through our early Environmental Monitoring Program, one of our farm sites was selected as an intensive research site to help develop performance-based standards for the management of salmon farms in BC.

Our long-time commitment to natural practices and dedication to quality achieved a new level of recognition when the company achieved organic certification under the standard set out in May 2012 by the Canadian General Standards Board.

Because we had put years of effort into our pursuit of natural, organic processes, we were well-placed to meet all the requirements and, in December 2013, we became the first salmon farming company in North American to achieve organic certification.