Fisheries and the Canadian economy

1.1 Main Fishing Activities

In Canada, the fishing industry is comprised of three main economic activities: commercial fishing (harvesting), aquaculture or fish farming, and fish processing. In 2011, commercial marine and freshwater landings yielded 876,277t valued at $2.2 billion (Table 1.1). Aquaculture production was 163,036t, valued at $845.6 million. During the same period, fish processing generated $4.4 billion, mainly from sales.

In 2011, commercial marine landings increased by 15% in value, despite a drop in the volume of landings by 11%. Commercial marine landings grew mainly due to increases in the landings of crab, shrimp, and lobster from the Atlantic coast. Fish landings from freshwater fisheries were valued at $58.0 million in 2011, down 4% from 2010; whereas aquaculture production was valued at $845.6 million, down slightly from 2011.

Table 1.1: Commercial Landings and Production by fishing activity, Canada, 2009-2012
2009 2010 2011 2012 2009 2010 2011 2012
metric tonnes millions of dollars
Marine fisheries 960,231 951,529 858,343 803,441 $1,702 $1,826 $2,100 $2,121
Freshwater fisheries 29,575 27,265 25,744 29,326 $58 $60 $58 $67
Aquaculture Production 1 156,537 163,020 163,594 174,057 $800 $919 $839 $825

1Source: Statistics Canada, Aquaculture Statistics 2011, Catalogue no. 23-222-X.

Total revenue from fish and seafood processing Footnote 1 rose to $4.4 billion in 2011, up 9% from 2010

1.2 Employment by Fishing Activity

In 2011, the harvesting sector employed 49,609 fish harvesters and crew members, a marginal increase from 2010 (Table 1.2). Aquaculture employed 3,292 workers, down 2% from 2010. Meanwhile, 31,903 workers were employed in the fish and seafood processing industry, up 8% from the previous year.

Industry Employment estimates (number of persons)
  2009 2010 2011
Harvesting1 51,014 49,526 49,609P
Aquaculture2 3,584 3,375 3,292
Processing3 27,305 29,599 31,903
Total 81,903 82,500 84,804

1Number of fish harvesters and crew. DFO, Economic Analysis and Statistics.
2Statistics Canada, Survey of Aquaculture Industry, unpublished estimates
3Statistics Canada. Table 301-0006 - Principal statistics for manufacturing industries, by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), annual, CANSIM (database).

1.3 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by Industry

Between 2010 and 2011 total Canadian GDP increased by 3% (Table 1.3). Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting GDP also increased by 3% between 2010 and 2011 though remained virtually unchanged in 2012. Fish harvesting increased by 3% between 2010 and 2011, and by an additional 3% in 2012. Meanwhile, fish processing increased at annual rate of growth of 8% between 2010 and 2011, while decreasing slightly in 2012.

Table 1.3: Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at basic prices, selected industries, Canada, 2009-2012
2009 2010 2011 2012
Industry Millions of chained 2007 Dollars1
Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting $23,622 $23,998 $24,794 $24,962
Fishing, hunting and trapping $1,069 $1,132 $1,060 $1,127
Seafood Product Preparation and Packaging $852 $992 $1,069 $1,102
All industries $1,437,361 $1,486,815 $1,525,279 $1,553,042

Source: Statistics Canada. Table 379-0031 - Gross domestic product (GDP) at basic prices, by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS), annual (dollars), CANSIM (database)
1Note that chained dollars allow for the calculation of growth rates, but not the contribution of each industry to the total Canadian GDP, as aggregates are not equal to the sum of their components