Aquaculture in Eastern Canada, the four Atlantic Canadian provinces (New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island) and Quebec, first began on a commercial-scale in the 1970s and grew quickly throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Freshwater fish aquaculture activities began in Quebec over 150 years ago.
Aquaculture is now a thriving industry with extensive operations across Eastern Canada.
Aquaculture operators in Eastern Canada are uniquely positioned to service the large United States’ East Coast market with the highest quality of fresh product. While Atlantic salmon and mussels are the predominant species grown across these five provinces, other species include: bay and sea scallops, brook trout, oysters, bay quahogs, sea urchins, arctic char, haddock, and bar clams. There has also been considerable work done in the development of new species such as halibut, sturgeon, abalone and cod.
First Nations are also starting to become involved in aquaculture. Such operations as shellfish and Artic char often combine new technologies with traditional ways.
As aquaculture has grown in Eastern Canada, so has the extensive regulatory structure to ensure that the industry operates in an environmentally responsible way. Federal and Provincial Memoranda of Understanding as well as a network of intergovernmental committees have been implemented to provide guidelines for joint-management. With the exception of Prince Edward Island, the provinces handle the licensing and site applications, a process involving many agencies. In PEI, DFO has the lead in these matters.
Like their counterparts across the country, Eastern Canadian aquaculture operators meet challenges along the way. Competition from foreign producers, currency fluctuations, invasive species and production losses can affect the bottom-line. But with its energetic entrepreneurs and its industry-government collaboration, the industry seems bound for further progress.
KEY ISSUES IN ATLANTIC CANADA
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