HSBC Bank Canada has initiated bankruptcy proceedings against Salt Spring-based Sable Fish Canada Incorporated.
The creditor submitted an application for a bankruptcy order to the Supreme Court of British Columbia on July 11, according to information obtained from the Ministry of Justice. A hearing has been scheduled for July 25 at the Vancouver Law Courts.
The company, which employs 38 people, operates a fish hatchery on Walker Hook Road and works in partnership with First Nations on northern Vancouver Island to farm, harvest and market its product under the Kyuquot Sound Sablefish brand.
Sable Fish Canada targets European and Japanese markets, where the fish is offered in high-end restaurants and grocery stores.
“In just a few short years our fresh sushi grade sablefish has earned an elite reputation and is praised by Michelin chefs from Tokyo to New York to Paris,” reads information on the company’s website.
The company’s current directors are listed as Terry Brooks, Colin MacMillan, Bruce Morton, Paul Simpson and Greg Vance. Morton, listed as the company’s president, did not return an interview request, nor did Salt Spring-based Simpson or anyone from the Salt Spring office. Vance said he was not in a position to comment.
During a meeting of the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans in March, Sable Fish Canada project manager Linda Hiemstra said the company has invested eight years and $21 million to become the only sablefish aquaculture operation in the world.
“Canada has a very real opportunity in this regard,” she told the committee.
“The future of the industry, because the salmon aquaculture is so tied up now, the future of the industry in British Columbia will come from new species and sablefish [is] one of them,” she added
Hiemstra told the committee the federal government’s aquaculture licencing system, regulatory requirements and consultation processes do not adequately promote the aquaculture sector’s expansion.
Sablefish, also known as black cod, is native to waters of the northern Pacific Ocean.
For more on this story, see the July 23 issue of the Driftwood newspaper.