Skip to content

First Nation entrepreneur ready to launch new fish farm vessel

Walkus will launch Geemia Joye, sister ship to Amarissa Joye, totaling to $11 million.
Thomas Paul Photo Geemia Joye will be sister ship to Amarissa Joye.

James Walkus, a member of Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw First Nation, is in the middle of building yet another multi-million dollar boat to transport farmed fish.

Walkus is one of the biggest independent commercial fishermen across the province. He leads the way for First Nations investing and running businesses in aquaculture.

“It’s going to be a state of the art packing boat,” said Walkus. “Absolute latest technology in packing, the best pump and electronics.”

He also added a few other parts of the boat are cutting edge and that the vessel is intended for “hauling and transporting farmed fish for Marine Harvest.”

James Walkus Fishing Company anticipates finishing the project soon. Walkus confirmed the packer boat will be 105-feet in size.

Chris Read, a communications officer at Marine Harvest, commented that “Marine Harvest is delighted that the James Walkus Fishing Company have made the investment in commissioning the Geemia Joye. The development of the boat represents the next steps in the evolution of the industry. Once ready, the Geemia Joye will be utilized fully as a part of the harvest operations.”

Walkus is a supplier and transporter for Marine Harvest. His boats are contracted by Marine Harvest. Walkus and his company are spearheading the project and are covering all associated costs of the new boat.

“The boat will be similar to the (Amarissa Joye) from a few years ago,” added Read. “It is an integral part of our harvest operations. Walkus will launch a sister ship (Geemia Joye) to that boat (Amarissa Joye), so it’s similar. There’s a couple tweaks to the design but essentially it’s the same boat.”

According to Jeremy Dunn in a press release to Sea West News, Walkus’ company employs around 30 North Island locals, many of whom are First Nations. Walkus has also invested money into the latest technology and equipment for his business, ensuring Marine Harvest retains as high a product quality as possible.

“It was built in the ABD boatyard in North Vancouver and it’s hull touched the water last week. I’d say it still has a bit of work to be done to be put into operation. It’s still being worked on, it’s in the water, but not operational yet,”said Read.

ABD Enterprises is responsible for the construction of the packer boat. Construction began last September 2016.

Later this month, Walkus will have officially launched the MS Geemia Joye, sister ship to Amarissa Joye, totaling up to 11 million dollars for the new boat, adding yet another vessel to Walkus’ fleet of ships.

Marine Harvest recently reported that over 25 per cent of their employees are First Nations. Over 20 per cent of First Nations work in the aquaculture industry.

He owns and runs a multi-million dollar fishing company and has properties across the world.