Farmed species profiles

There are approximately 45 different species of finfish, shellfish and marine algae commercially cultivated in Canada. Aquaculture is practiced in every province and in the Yukon and takes place in marine environments, freshwater lakes and rivers, land-based ponds or tanks. Production varies across the country depending upon the species being farmed, the environment within which it is farmed (marine or freshwater), the conditions on the ocean, lake or river floor (e.g.: sand or rock) and the culture technologies used (land based, ocean or lake based). See Figure 1 below.

The main types of growing operations include:

  • freshwater net pen and land-based systems
  • bottom culture shellfish operations in intertidal zones
  • long-lines, net pens and restocking operations in open water
  • bottom culture shellfish grow-out areas in sub-tidal zones

Figure 1: Types of aquaculture

Types of Aquaculture

There are 26 species of finfish cultivated in all regions of Canada. Finfish represent the largest component of the aquaculture sector. Salmon (Atlantic, Chinook and Coho) is the most significant finfish in terms of volumes produced and sold, although several species of trout and Arctic char are also produced.

Shellfish is an important part of the aquaculture sector on Canada’s East and West coasts with 16 species cultured. Mussels and oysters are the most significant in terms of volumes produced and sold, but clams, scallops and other species are also grown.

Marine algae farming is a small, yet growing, sector in Canada with many species of kelp, moss and seaweed cultivated in the Atlantic provinces.

The diversity of species in all sectors is expected to increase.

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