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International trade

4.1 Exports

Canadian exports of marine, freshwater and aquaculture fish and seafood products remained static with a total value of $3.88 billion in 2008, which was $4 million more than in 2007. The most valuable Canadian exports in 2008 were lobster, farmed salmon, snow crab and shrimp, the combined value of which represented 60% of the total value of Canadian seafood exports during the year.

Table 4.1: Total value of Canadian exports, fish and seafood products, by species, 2006-2008
Species Export Value ($m)
2006 2007 2008 % change
2007-2008
Groundfish 442 383 390 2%
  Cod, Haddock 111 111 112 0%
  Halibut, Flounders 76 73 74 2%
  Hake 85 79 91 16%
  Greenland Turbot 55 43 40 -8%
  Other 115 77 74 -4%
Pelagic fish 992 877 941 7%
  Herring, Mackerel, Sardines 209 197 235 19%
  Salmon, farmed 540 488 524 8%
  Salmon, wild 145 111 90 -19%
  Tuna 29 23 27 17%
  Other 69 59 65 10%
Shellfish 2,278 2,262 2,202 -3%
  Lobster 1,004 907 924 2%
  Crab, snow 426 520 519 0%
  Crab, other 94 116 124 7%
  Shrimp 456 438 360 -18%
  Scallop 100 112 105 -6%
  Clams 101 84 84 0%
  Other 97 87 86 0%
Other marine species 263 234 232 -1%
Freshwater fish 118 124 119 -4%
  Perch 23 22 18 -19%
  Pickerel 39 42 38 -11%
  Other 56 59 63 7%
Total 4,094 3,880 3,884 0%

Source: Statistics Canada, International Trade Division.

In 2008, hake, tuna and herring, mackerel and sardines combined as well as farmed salmon experienced increases in the value of exports. The total value of exported herring, mackerel and sardines was $235 million in 2008, an increase in value from 2007 of $38 million (+19%). Farmed salmon exports increased by almost $37 million (+8%) from 2007 as a result of a higher volume of exports in 2008, with little change in the average price paid. The value of hake exports were up by nearly $13 million (+16%). Crab exports, other than snow crab, increased by $8 million (+7%) over 2007.

On the other hand, the value of shrimp exports decreased by over $77 million (-18%). A similar change in export value occurred for wild salmon, which fell by almost $21 million (-19%). The value of snow crab exports remained flat at $519 million, a drop of less than $1 million from 2007. Species such as scallops and Greenland halibut both saw decreases in the value of exports by 6% and 8%, respectively.

Exports of halibut and flounders, lobster, clams, cod and haddock as well as other shellfish species saw little change in the value of their exports between 2007 and 2008.

In 2008, British Columbia led Canadian provinces and territories in exports with a value of almost $911 million. The second highest export values were recorded in Nova Scotia with exports exceeding $843 million. These two provinces accounted for 45% of all fish and seafood exports in 2008. Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick followed with exports of $811 million and $757 million, respectively. Quebec and Prince Edward Island each had export values exceeding $200 million, while all other provinces and territories reported exports under $75 million.

Figure 4.1: Total value of Canadian seafood exports by province, 2006-2008

*Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Northwest Territories, Yukon, Nunavut.
Source: Statistics Canada, International Trade Division.

In 2008, the main market for Canadian fish and seafood was the United States, accounting for almost 63% of Canadian exports. While exports to individual countries such as Japan and China accounted for 7.5% and 6.7% of the total export value respectively, the European Union, comprised of 27 member nations, accounted for almost 13% of Canada's exports.

A small number of countries showed growth in terms of important export markets for Canadian seafood products. Russia, ranked 6th in 2008, had a 103% increase in Canadian imports since 2006, from $44 million to just over $89 million. From a value perspective, the United States, which retained its first place position, had the highest reduction in exports between 2006 and 2008, importing $87 million (-3%) less in Canadian seafood exports in 2008 than in 2006.

From 2007 to 2008, however, exports increased by almost $37 million (+1.5%). With 13% of the export value, European Union was the 2nd most important export market for Canada. Similarly, Japan, the 3rd most important export market for Canada, imported almost $48 million (-14%) less of Canada's fish and seafood products in 2008 than in 2006. Between 2007 and 2008, the Japanese market continued a very slight downward trend, falling just 1% over the period.

Figure 4.2: Value of Canadian seafood exports by major markets, 2006-2008

Source: Statistics Canada, International Trade Division.

Main exports to the European market in 2008 were sockeye, pink and chum salmon from British Columbia and shrimp, lobster and Atlantic cod from the Atlantic Provinces. In the American market, lobster, salmon, and snow crab accounted for 65% of the total Canadian exports to the United States. The main exports by value to the Japanese market were herring, snow crab, shrimp, lobster, Atlantic salmon, and sablefish, which accounted for more then two-thirds of the value of all exports to the country.

Figure 4.3: Share (%) of the value of Canadian exports, by major markets, 2006-2008

Source: Statistics Canada, International Trade Division.

A possible cause for the decrease in Canadian seafood exports to the United States was the exchange rate. Between 2006 and 2008 the exchange rate for the US dollar fell by over 6% against the Canadian dollar. On average in 2006, for every Canadian dollar of imports, US importers were paying $0.88 US. On average in 2008, US importers were paying almost $0.94 US for each Canadian dollar of exports. In contrast, despite the fact the value of the Euro increased by 10% against the Canadian dollar, this did not result in an increase in exports to the European Union. Between 2006 and 2008, Canadian exports to the European Union dropped by 11%.

Figure 4.4: Movement of exchange rates between the Canadian dollar and the US dollar, the euro and the japanese yen, 2005/01 – 2009/01

Source: Bank of Canada.

4.2 Imports

Canadian imports of marine, freshwater and aquaculture products reached a total value of $2.24 billion in 2008, which represents an increase of $35 million (+2%) compared to 2007. The main imported species were shrimp, lobster, wild salmon, tuna as well as groundfish species such as cod and haddock combined and halibut. Together, these species represented slightly less than half the total value of Canadian fish imports in 2008, but were 4% lower than in 2007.

Table 4.2: Total value of Canadian imports, fish and seafood products, by species, 2006-2008
Species Import Value ($m)
2006 2007 2008 % change
2007-2008
Groundfish 281 290 263 -9%
  Cod, Haddock 96 95 86 -9%
  Halibut 96 105 88 -16%
  Other 89 90 89 -1%
Pelagic fish 358 392 472 20%
  Herring, Mackerel, Sardines 29 26 30 15%
  Salmon, farmed 21 21 56 174%
  Salmon, wild 150 189 195 3%
  Tuna 141 138 172 24%
  Other 16 18 19 2%
Shellfish 925 916 855 -7%
  Lobster 208 180 159 -12%
  Crab, snow 5 4 7 69%
  Crab, other 79 77 74 -3%
  Shrimp 409 433 395 -9%
  Scallop 62 65 58 -12%
  Clams 42 40 41 3%
  Other 119 117 121 4%
Other marine species 465 474 519 9%
Freshwater fish 95 128 126 -2%
Total 2,123 2,200 2,235 2%

Source: Statistics Canada, International Trade Division.

The import value of herring, mackerel, sardines, salmon (farmed and wild), and tuna increased by $79 million in 2008 (+21%) from 2007. In contrast, imports of cod, haddock, halibut, lobster, shrimp and scallops fell by $92 million (-11%).

The main destinations of seafood imports into Canada in 2008 were the provinces of Ontario (32.4%), British Columbia (31.8%), Quebec (13.7%) and New Brunswick (11.2%). Most imports into Ontario and British Columbia were fresh and frozen shellfish and canned fish products, accounting for 46% and 44% of the provinces imports respectively. 58% of Quebec's main import were fresh and frozen shellfish followed by fresh and frozen fish fillets. Fresh and frozen shellfish accounted for over 60% of all imports into New Brunswick in 2008.

Figure 4.5: Total value of Canadian seafood imports by province, 2006-2008

*Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Yukon.
Source: Statistics Canada, International Trade Division.

In 2008, 36.7% of the total value of Canadian imports of fish and seafood came from the United States, for a total of $820 million. Thailand came second with 14.9% of the total value ($333 million), followed by China with 14.6% ($326 million). Chile and Vietnam were fourth and fifth, accounting for 5.1% and 4.6% of the value of Canadian imports, respectively.

Figure 4.6: Total value of Canadian seafood imports by major markets, 2006-2008

Source: Statistics Canada, International Trade Division.