Aquaculture operations in Canada vary depending upon the species being farmed, the environment being used (e.g., marine, freshwater), and the culture technologies being applied (e.g., land based, water based). Atlantic salmon, chinook salmon, trout, Arctic char, blue mussel, oyster and clam are well established aquaculture industries, while the farming of several other species are at various stages of development.
Economic Contribution to Canada
Aquaculture represents 34% of Canada’s total marine value and 14% of total seafood production. The value of aquaculture production has increased by 52% over the last ten years, to $927 million in 2010 from $609 million in 2000. In fact, Canadian production has increased four-fold over the past 20 years.
Atlantic salmon is Canada’s top aquaculture export, accounting for a farm-gate value of $690.9 million in 2010, while blue mussel is the top shellfish export, accounting for $36.2 million in 2010.
National aquaculture production output is divided about equally between the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. In 2010, British Columbia accounted for about 51% of total production volume, followed by New Brunswick at 17%, Prince Edward Island at 13%, Newfoundland and Labrador at 10% and Nova Scotia at 5%.
Employment Contribution to Canada
According to a 2009 study, aquaculture employs about 14,500 people in full-time, well paying jobs that are primarily located in smaller coastal and rural communities. Canada’s farmed-salmon industry provides more than 10,000 jobs alone, the majority of which are in coastal areas of British Columbia and New Brunswick.
The aquaculture industry also generates a little more than half a billion dollars in labour income.
The future of Canada’s aquaculture industry is directly linked to its economic viability, success in creating stable jobs, and increasing access to domestic and international markets. These objectives apply to the many facets of the aquaculture sector, including businesses associated with hatcheries, grow-out, and processing, as well as the supply of aquaculture goods and services.