Community Profile: Coast of Bays Region, Newfoundland and Labrador (Salmon)

More than a dozen communities in the Coast of Bays Region of Newfoundland and Labrador have been positively influenced by the growth of the aquaculture industry over the past decade. The industry has contributed 588 direct full-time-equivalent jobs and additional employment has been created in the supply and service sectors. In 2013, the region produced more than 26,500 tonnes of farmed fish and shellfish for a farm-gate value of almost $197 million. The farm-gate value represents a product’s value once it is sold by the producer.

The Coast of Bays region is located along the south coast of Newfoundland and Labrador, and spans the north shore of Fortune Bay, Bay d’Espoir, and the Connaigre Peninsula. The marine environment in this region presents ideal conditions for aquaculture. There are sheltered bays and inlets offering protected areas for finfish net pens and suspended shellfish culture gear, even as the region can experience hurricane-level winds in the fall.

To address these challenges, new technologies were developed to strengthen cage design, anchorage, and nets in order to withstand extreme weather conditions. Supporting infrastructure was also upgraded. New wharves were constructed to improve bio-security measures, as well as a salmon hatchery to produce juvenile salmon, and a new Centre for Aquaculture Health and Development. Many of these changes were made possible through investments by Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Aquaculture Innovation and Market Access Program (2008-2013), the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Today, the region is alive with energy and activity, and there is a sense of pride and confidence throughout the community. Skilled, trained, and knowledgeable expertise, as well as supplies and services, are locally and readily available. Other aquaculture-supporting businesses, such as secondary processing, net-cleaning, diving, waste management, composting and feed production, also encourage continued growth of aquaculture in this region.

Officials from the Coast of Bays Economic Development Board estimate that total aquaculture production could reach a sustainable capacity of 40,000 tonnes.