Aquaculture production has seen important increases over the past 35 years, both in Canada and worldwide. British Columbia leads Canada’s finfish production (principally salmon), while Prince Edward Island leads the country’s shellfish production. In 2019, 187,026 tonnes of seafood were produced by Canada’s aquaculture sector, valued at more than $1.2 billion, contributing to the local economies of many small and coastal communities.
The regulatory framework of Canada’s aquaculture industry is shared between the federal and provincial governments. Further complicating matters is the fact that these regulatory responsibilities differ for certain provinces. In addition to recent regulatory reforms, a federal Aquaculture Act has been proposed to help clarify the division of powers and to simplify the regulatory regime both for industry and the general public. Work towards such a federal Act has begun.
In addition to regulatory uncertainty, Canada’s aquaculture industry also continues to face challenges, including concern over environmental impacts, negative public perceptions and global competition. However, many opportunities, such as emerging technologies, increased Indigenous participation and industry transparency, are also on the horizon.
Aquaculture has been part of Canada’s economy for decades and environmentally sound aquaculture may be a cornerstone of the achievement of a long-term sustainable blue economy.
Read the full text of the Background Paper: Canada’s Aquaculture Industry
Author: Daniele Lafrance, Library of Parliament