"Three or four years ago, we were ready to fight these guys. We were going to tow their pens away," he says. But now the notion of creating a Burnt Church on the Pacific rarely crosses people's minds.
Paul came to believe that his band had more to gain than lose from the farms. His job has allowed him to move back to Ahousat from Port Alberni and, he says, "our welfare rate is down by 50 per cent." The rest of the welfare cases would disappear, he adds, if the band signed the draft agreement allowing more farms and perhaps even became a part owner, as Pacific National has suggested.
In the meantime, friction remains.
There are the environmental issues, unconfirmed and unresolved, and a more difficult challenge: that haunting feeling in Archie Frank's mind that he is somehow betraying his late father by farming salmon in order to feed his children.
After the Norwegian directors visited the island and joined the Ahousat elders for a feast, the band council still said it was not ready to sign an agreement, and Paul says he pays a personal price for his allegiance to the company. He believes his children are being taunted at school, and he is so uncertain of his position in the village that he will talk about only on the telephone so others can't listen in.
Remote communities everywhere are known for being a bit paranoid, which makes radical change difficult - especially if it involves a big outside company that is in a hurry.
Fed up, some Pacific National executives have refused to deal with opponents within the band. Tom Paul fears the company will just push ahead. It needs the band's approval to move two fish farms from the southern end of Vancouver Island to Clayoquot Sound, and has said it will find another place on the island - and take some of the Ahousat area farms with it - if the band does not show more co-operation.
Early this month, the band council issued a new endorsement of the fish farming industry, effectively pushing Campbell and his friends in the environmental movement aside. But it has yet to sign the draft protocol, or agree in writing to the new Pacific National farms.
Tom Paul fears that his band, if it does not move quickly, could lose skills, marine technology and perhaps one day a stake in the farms. His company could also lose dedicated workers, environmental advice and a bulwark against the greens.
Under growing pressure to produce better returns on its big investment, the company has already lost several non-native staff. "They have a corporate attitude," Paul says of his employer. "They have their issues just as Ahousat as their issues."
He feels that, despite the past, the salmon people and the salmon farmers must accept a common future - one that's a bit slower for the company and a bit riskier for the natives, but perhaps provides both with a less bitter harvest.