April 23, 2010
Canada’s Aquaculture Industry Contributes
$2.1 Billion to National Economy
For immediate release
Ottawa, ON – Canada’s finfish and shellfish farming industry generates $2.1 billion annually for the Canadian economy, according to a new report commissioned by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
The report explores both the economic and social impacts of aquaculture in Canada, with data broken down according to major production areas. In addition to direct activities such as hatcheries, grow-out sites and processing, the economic impact analysis factors in goods and services supplied to the industry, plus the impact of spending by aquaculture employees.
“This study is an important benchmark for our industry, particularly with heritage industries like forestry on the decline,” said Ruth Salmon, Executive Director of the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance. “Aquaculture provides the equivalent of nearly 15,000 full time jobs across Canada, and the total number of workers employed by our industry is even higher because of seasonal peaks in activity. The average full-time income is $32,000, and most of those jobs are in rural and small coastal communities.”
Aquaculture takes place in all ten provinces and the Yukon Territory. British Columbia accounts for 50 percent of total seafood production, followed by approximately 30 percent for New Brunswick. Canada grows more than a dozen types of seafood. Atlantic, Chinook and Coho salmon, trout, Arctic char, blue mussels, oyster and clams are well established facets of the industry, whereas halibut, sturgeon, tilapia, sablefish and scallops are at various stages of development.
Based on three key indicators – GDP, employment and labour income – the table below outlines the $2.1 billion impact of Canada’s aquaculture industry in 2007, by province ($000s):
“This study recognizes the economic impact of our industry and, just as importantly, identifies the growth barriers we face as we try to create more job opportunities for Canadians,” said Salmon. “We grew more than four-fold between 1990 and 2006. That was great progress, but we’ve lost momentum over the last few years. We need to educate Canadians about our industry, which is technologically advanced, produces fresh, safe and healthy food all year-round, and has the potential to become a global competitor.”
While Canada has earned an international reputation for farming sustainable, high quality seafood, the rules governing our aquaculture industry are inconsistent from province to province. Federal aquaculture legislation would address overlapping – and often conflicting – legislation, ultimately attracting investment and creating jobs.
The report also singles out a lack of ‘social license’ as a barrier to the expansion of aquaculture –salmon farming in particular. The Canadian aquaculture industry only represents 0.2 percent of global farmed seafood production.
“Because our industry is continually improving and changing, people still see the industry the way it was 10 or 15 years ago,” she said. “It’s more sustainable, innovative and science-based than what you read about in the media. People need to realize that we don’t deplete natural resources, and we provide jobs for rural Canadians. We’ve got the world’s longest coastline, and access to a huge market south of the border. We could be a much larger player on the global stage, but Canadians need to embrace this industry.”
About the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance The Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA) is a national industry association, headquartered in Ottawa that represents the interests of Canadian aquaculture operators, feed companies and suppliers, as well as provincial finfish and shellfish aquaculture associations.