International Trade

3.1 Exports

Canadian exports of seafood products increased to $4.1 billion in 2012, up 1% from 2011 (Table 3.1). Canada's main exports in 2012 consisted of fresh and frozen shellfish valued at $2.5 billion, whole dressed or fresh sea fish valued at $619.8 million, whole, dressed or frozen sea fish valued at $228.8 million. The most valuable species were lobster, snow crab, farmed salmon and shrimp, with combined export values of 62% in 2012.

Table 3.1: Canadian exports of fish and seafood products, selected species, 2008-2012
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Species thousands of dollars
Groundfish
Hake 91,291 62,209 62,395 $69,918 $71,835
Greenland Turbot 39,657 45,066 47,499 $56,050 $60,991
Halibut 53,662 46,837 50,897 $55,278 $59,497
Cod 80,953 67,006 57,076 $49,593 $42,065
Other 124,779 129,004 117,326 $102,413 $95,439
Sub-total $390,342 $350,122 $335,194 $333,252 $329,827
Pelagic Fish
Salmon, farmed 529,752 523,834 544,031 $507,977 $524,786
Herring, Sardines 179,648 193,576 177,444 $161,928 $160,617
Salmon, wild 84,565 78,220 155,074 $107,687 $117,094
Eel 5,195 6,127 6,342 $24,003 $39,381
Tuna $26,979 $17,577 $31,730 26,105 $24,146
Other $115,061 $85,559 $78,941 $62,751 $45,913
Sub-total $941,200 $904,893 $993,562 $890,451 $911,937
Shellfish
Lobster $924,183 $805,265 $946,880 $1,028,233 $1,088,217
Crab, snow $518,895 $502,063 $463,052 $613,449 $550,672
Shrimp $360,228 $336,484 $371,736 $394,071 $386,223
Crab, other $124,039 $109,226 $125,500 $125,953 $205,751
Clams $83,644 $90,859 $107,153 $98,240 $109,329
Scallop $104,892 $95,070 $95,724 $112,958 $108,042
Other $86,144 $89,839 $94,011 $119,044 $135,947
Sub-total $2,202,025 $2,028,806 $2,204,055 $2,491,948 $2,584,179
Other marine species $232,046 $225,659 $221,559 $232,069 $208,189
Freshwater Fish
Perch $17,883 $37,400 $63,464 $60,429 $41,111
Whitefish $16,953 $17,662 $18,964 $21,356 $20,354
Pickerel $37,632 $23,108 $15,069 $11,236 $13,876
Other Freshwater Fish $9,710 $12,400 $11,862 $11,088 $13,852
Other $36,374 $36,027 $38,434 $45,470 $28,288
Sub-total $118,552 $126,598 $147,793 $149,579 $117,481
Total $3,884,166 $3,636,078 $3,902,163 $4,097,299 $4,151,613

Source: Statistics Canada, International Trade Division, Canadian International Merchandise Trade Database

Certain species saw export gains in terms of value, including, clams, Greenland turbot, lobster, and farmed salmon. Exports of clams were valued at $109.3 million in 2012, an increase of $11.1 million (+11%) from 2011. Exports of Greenland turbot increased by $4.9 million (+9%) and lobster exports increased by $58.7 million (+6%). Farmed salmon made up the majority of salmon exports in Canada, increasing by $41.2 million (+8%) to $524.8 million in 2012. Exports of hake also increased in 2012, up $1.9 million (+3%) from 2011.

Cod and haddock exports continue to decline in 2012. In 2012, cod and haddock exports were valued at $57.4 million, nearly half what it was worth in 2008. Herring, mackerel and sardines decreased by $16.0 million (-9%), and tuna decreased by $2.0 million (-8%). Snow crab exports decreased by $62.8 million (-10%) to $550.7 million between 2011 and 2012.

In 2012, freshwater fish exports amounted to $117.5 million, its lowest export level in 5 years. A major contributor to the decline was a significant drop in the exports of perch as exports of this species returned to historical levels from an exceptional year in 2011. Despite overall losses in freshwater fish exports, however, gains were observed in pickerel exports, up $2.6 million (+23%) from 2011.

New Brunswick was the largest exporter of fish and seafood products in 2012, with exports of $967.7 million (Table 3.2). Nova Scotia followed with exports of over $917.6 million. These two provinces accounted for 45% of all fish and seafood exports in 2012 and have both experienced significant increases since 2010. In previous years, British Columbia led Canadian provinces and territories in fish and seafood exports but in 2012, seafood exports in the province fell by 4% to $871.5 million resulting in a drop in ranking. Newfoundland and Labrador followed with exports of $774.0 million, down 11% from 2011. Fish and Seafood exports from Quebec decreased slightly to $265.7 million in 2012. Meanwhile exports of fish and seafood from Prince Edward Island increased to $197.5 million in 2012, up 15% from 2011. All other provinces and territories experienced relatively small growth in fish and seafood exports in 2012.

Table 3.2: Canadian fish and seafood exports by province, 2008-2012
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Province Thousands of dollars
New Brunswick 756,678 695,503 783,396 $833,477 $967,695
Nova Scotia 843,397 809,664 794,149 $902,194 $917,615
British Columbia $910,965 $882,760 $957,257 $911,526 $872,187
Newfoundland and Labrador $811,175 $720,503 780,208 $860,251 $774,059
Quebec 230,669 239,767 245,794 $264,901 $265,704
Prince Edward Island 200,775 151,596 188,081 $172,101 $197,545
Other1 130,507 136,285 153,278 $152,849 $156,808
Canada 3,884,166 3,636,078 3,902,163 $4,097,299 $4,151,613

1Includes Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Northwest Territories, Yukon, Nunavut.
Source: Statistics Canada, International Trade Division, Canadian International Merchandise Trade Database

The United States remains Canada's main export market for fish and seafood, representing 62% of Canadian exports. Exports to other countries such as China and Japan accounted for 11% and 6%, respectively. In 2012, the European Union, consisting of 27 member nations, accounted for 8% of Canada's exports (Table 3.3).

Table 3.3: Canadian seafood exports by major markets, 2008-2012
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
thousands of dollars
United States 2,439,559 2,333,182 2,440,629 $2,533,156 $2,552,249
China 258,684 217,958 282,609 $355,455 $443,121
European Union $488,516 $416,496 $401,747 $397,052 $343,651
Japan 294,497 263,728 301,017 $252,078 $259,934
Sub-Total 3,481,256 3,231,363 3,426,002 $3,537,740 $3,598,956
Total Exports 3,884,166 3,636,078 3,902,163 $4,097,299 $4,151,613

Source: Statistics Canada, International Trade Division, Canadian International Merchandise Trade Database

Canadian exports to the United States comprised mainly of lobster, salmon, and snow crab. Major Canadian species exported to China included crab, shrimp, lobster and Greenland turbot, accounting for over 75% of exports to China. Main exports to the European market in 2012 were sockeye, pink, and chum salmon from British Columbia and shrimp, lobster and scallops from the Atlantic Provinces. Exports to Japan comprised mainly of snow crab, herring, lobster, shrimp, crab, sablefish, clam, and sea urchin, and accounted for almost 80% of the value of all exports to that country.

3.2 Imports

Canadian imports of fish and seafood products were $2.8 billion in 2012, an increase of $76.0 million (+3%) from 2011 (Table 3.4). The main imported species were shrimp, farmed salmon, lobster, tuna and wild salmon as well as ground fish species such as cod and haddock. Combined, these species represented 52% of Canadian fish imports in 2012.

Table 3.4: Canadian imports of fish and seafood products, selected species, 2008-2012
2,008 2,009 2,010 2,011 2,012
Species thousands of dollars
Groundfish
Cod 59,295 54,579 $57,168 $64,690 $63,858
Halibut 87,765 94,895 $102,985 $97,341 $52,986
Haddock $27,143 $30,964 $34,814 $37,027 $45,578
Other Groundfish 2,220 2,102 $1,565 $2,234 $41,860
Sole 30,951 32,734 $28,020 $31,060 $30,490
Other 55,910 60,118 $48,741 $51,751 $68,508
Sub-Total $263,283 $275,391 $273,292 $284,104 $303,280
Pelagic Fish
Salmon, wild 194,864 230,617 $196,049 $236,853 $348,375
Tuna 172,137 169,766 $160,976 $177,134 $209,969
Salmon, farmed 56,463 49,805 $71,195 $29,900 $55,443
Herring, Mackerel, Sardines 29,658 39,304 $30,229 $31,604 $45,820
Other $18,689 $19,309 17,053 $17,956 $25,309
Sub-Total $471,811 $508,801 $475,502 $493,447 $684,916
Shellfish
Shrimp, Prawn $394,799 $438,706 $446,675 $517,080 $488,250
Lobster $158,833 $160,745 $208,643 $238,815 $238,243
Crab, other* $73,930 $75,805 $75,604 $99,966 $101,085
Scallop $57,730 $60,532 $55,745 $81,347 $86,120
Crab, snow $7,452 $5,550 $6,117 $9,486 $17,622
Other $162,313 $165,658 $168,887 $175,695 $178,367
Sub-Total $855,057 $906,996 $961,671 $1,122,391 $1,109,688
Other marine species $519,175 $537,779 $548,656 $621,401 $514,314
Freshwater Fish $125,541 $132,379 $132,394 $165,827 $151,420
Total Imports $2,234,865 $2,361,346 $2,391,516 $2,687,169 $2,763,618

Source: Statistics Canada, International Trade Division, Canadian International Merchandise Trade Database
* Other Crab includes; crab, dungeness crab and king crab

The main destinations of seafood imported into Canada in 2012 were the provinces of British Columbia (30%), Ontario (29%), Quebec (16%) and New Brunswick (14%). Imports into British Columbia were mainly fresh and frozen shellfish and canned fish products, accounting for 46% of the province's imports. In Ontario, 52% of the province's imports were fresh and frozen shellfish and canned fish products. Quebec's main imports were fresh and frozen shellfish followed by fresh and frozen fish fillets (57%). Likewise, fresh and frozen shellfish accounted for over 58% of all imports into New Brunswick in 2012.

Table 3.5: Seafood imports by province, 2008-2012
2008 2009 2010 2011 2,012
Province thousands of dollars
British Columbia 710,634 715,820 $712,006 $829,204 $835,054
Ontario 723,120 783,035 $738,053 $791,125 $810,626
Quebec $306,709 $349,242 $332,851 $424,985 $436,697
New Brunswick 250,185 244,265 $320,439 $322,230 $381,008
Nova Scotia 122,417 143,058 $139,545 $179,928 $155,023
Newfoundland and Labrador 18,648 14,036 $15,119 $13,331 $20,931
Other1 $103,152 $111,890 $133,504 $126,366 $124,280
Total $2,234,865 2,361,346 $2,391,516 $2,687,169 $2,763,618

1Includes Prince Edward Island, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Yukon
Source: Statistics Canada, International Trade Division, Canadian International Merchandise Trade Database

In 2012, 36% of the total value of Canadian imports of fish and seafood came from the United States, for a total of $990.0 million (Table 3.6). Imports from Thailand was second with 15% of the total value ($421.0 million), followed by China with 14% ($391.2 million). Chile and Vietnam were fourth and fifth, each representing 5% of the value of Canadian imports.

Table 3.6: Principal importers of Canadian seafood products, 2008-2012
2008 2009 2010 2011 2,012
Country thousands of dollars
United States 820,464 831,384 $889,405 $959,896 $990,279
Thailand 333,316 354,286 $343,008 $397,842 $420,987
China $314,476 $355,718 $358,281 $413,101 $391,237
Chile 114,864 119,406 $120,411 $132,373 $136,984
Vietnam 103,585 123,005 $114,210 $133,913 $134,527
Peru 80,592 54,772 $62,163 $68,235 $90,987
Norway $34,589 $41,628 $44,344 $66,227 $68,978
European Union $49,055 56,952 $65,466 $65,669 $68,539
India 43,301 53,621 $52,363 $71,832 $67,775
Indonesia 25,197 26,118 $21,435 $33,442 $36,353
Other countries 315,427 344,457 $320,428 $344,640 $356,972
Total  2,234,865 2,361,346 $2,391,516 $2,687,169 $2,763,618

Source: Statistics Canada, International Trade Division, Canadian International Merchandise Trade Database