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Economic Benefits


Canadian Aquaculture: An Important Economic Contributor

Photo Brochure: Farming Seafood In Canada | How Aquaculture Delivers for Everyone

Aquaculture is a natural choice for Canada. Not only does Canada have the world’s longest coastline – but it also has the largest freshwater system and the world’s largest tidal range.

The Canadian aquaculture industry has become an important contributor to Canada’s economy. In 1986, Canadian aquaculture production amounted to only 10,488 tonnes, valued at $35 million; by 2006, production had grown to 171,829 tonnes with a value of over $912 million.

Aquaculture now accounts for 14% of total Canadian fisheries production and 33% of its value. Farmed salmon is British Columbia’s largest agricultural export product - and the largest crop in the New Brunswick agri-food sector.

A Truly National Industry

Aquaculture contributes to the economies of all Canadian provinces – as well as in the Yukon. Over 8,000 Canadians are directly employed in aquaculture – most of them full time. The aquaculture supply and services sector creates an additional 8,000 jobs. Two-thirds of all workers are under the age of 35.

The largest aquaculture producing provinces are:  


  British Columbia New Brunswick Newfoundland & Labrador Nova Scotia Prince Edward Island Ontario Quebec
Aquaculture Production Value $426 million $250 million $60 million $40 million $32 million $16 million $13 million
Jobs Created > 3600 direct
4000 indirect
2000 direct
2500 indirect
460 direct and indirect 900 direct 2000 direct and indirect 230 direct 310 direct


Prosperity for Canadian Coastal Communities

Over 90% of all direct and indirect jobs are located in rural, coastal and Aboriginal communities. Aquaculture development has proven to be a revitalizing social and economic force in these communities. It provides meaningful year-round employment and a reason for youth to remain in their rural communities.

Canadian coastal communities experiencing economic revitalization through aquaculture development include:


Newfoundland Bay d'Espoir   Salmon, Steelhead, Cod
  Notre Dame Bay   Mussels
  Trinity Bay Mussels
  Fortune Bay   Salmon
Nova Scotia Bras d'Or Lake   Salmon, Steelhead
  Mahone Bay   Mussels
New Brunswick Bay of Fundy   Salmon
  Northumberland Strait   Oysters, Mussels
  Acadian Peninsula   Oysters, Mussels
Prince Edward Island Murray River   Mussels
  New London Bay   Mussels
  Malpeque Bay   Oysters, Mussels
Québec Îles-de-la-Madeleine
Gaspe Bay
Bay des Chaleurs
Mussels, Scallops
Ontario Manitoulin Island   Rainbow Trout
Saskatchewan Lake Diefenbaker   Rainbow Trout
British Columbia Campbell River   Salmon
  Clayoquot Sound   Salmon
  Quatsino Sound   Oysters, Clams
  Fanny Bay   Oysters
  Baynes Sound   Oysters, Clams
  Queen Charlotte Strait   Salmon
Yukon Whitehorse   Arctic Char

Charlotte County, New Brunswick - An Aquaculture Success Story

Once hard hit by unemployment, the economy of Charlotte County, in southwest New Brunswick, has been economically transformed by aquaculture.

Aquaculture now accounts for more than 3,000 full-time jobs in the local area, representing 25% of the entire workforce. Direct employment wages, salaries and benefits expenditures are estimated at $47 million. In the related supplies and services industries - such as boat building, net and cage manufacturing, machine shops, etc. - it is estimated that an additional 2,900 jobs have been created. These positions add close to $46 million to regional payrolls.

On the island of Grand Manan alone, there are approximately 240 direct and indirect full time, year round jobs that are related to the salmon farming industry.  Projections indicate that a 30% growth in employment can be realized in the next few years - bringing 73 new jobs and an additional $1.3 million in wages to the island.  Tax revenues to New Brunswick from the salmon farming industry on Grand Manan now exceed $4.5 million.

“Be it Resolved that the Village of Grand Manan supports and encourages the continued growth and diversification of the Aquaculture Industry within Southern New Brunswick.”
Resolution of the Grand Manan Village Council, 2000


Sustainable Development for First Nations

According to Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, many First Nations people live in Third World conditions due primarily to chronic high unemployment. The capacity of aquaculture development to significantly impact the economies of First Nations communities is a documented fact: in British Columbia, aquaculture has helped the Kitasoo First Nation reduce unemployment from 80% to nearly zero.

In British Columbia, 21 First Nations are engaged in shellfish aquaculture activities and 14 First Nations are engaged in finfish aquaculture. First Nations in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada are also pursuing aquaculture initiatives.

A preliminary analysis conducted for the Indian and Northern Affairs Canada determined that approximately:

  • 61 coastal First Nations have access to sites which could support salmon farms
  • 130 First Nations may have the potential to develop trout farms
  • 123 First Nations have access to sites with the potential for clam, mussel, and/or oyster farming


Kitasoo First Nation: A Salmon Farming Success Story

Located on BC’s central coast, the Kitasoo First Nation relied for decades on the economy of the commercial salmon industry – and faced extreme economic hardship when the industry collapsed.

As part of their economic revitalization plan, the Kitasoo developed a salmon farm in partnership with an established salmon farming company. Today, salmon farming provides 15 full-time equivalent jobs for Kitasoo First Nation members worth $450, 000 annually.

The Kitasoo have also constructed a processing plant. The plant currently processes 1.4 million pounds of farmed salmon each month – generating gross revenues of ~$2.2 million monthly.  Processing activities employ 30 full time equivalent jobs at full operation – contributing approximately $1 million in wages to the village economy.

The Kitasoo have retained final decision-making powers in all matters pertaining to environmental impacts and decisions - making it clear to their industry partner that the farm will be shut down if environmental degradation occurs.  After four years of operations, independent environmental monitoring have found that the environmental integrity of the region remains intact.

Kitasoo Chief Councilor and Band Manager Percy Starr proudly proclaims:
“No one should be fooled into thinking that the Kitasoo First Nation had sold out and sacrifices any part of its environmental heritage in order to become part of the salmon-farming industry.”



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