A typical BC farming site. (Photo: BC Salmon Farmers Association)
Think tank positive about future of Atlantic Canada's aquaculture sector
Friday, March 02, 2012, 03:30 (GMT + 9)
Atlantic Canada’s salmon-based aquaculture sector continues to enjoy remarkable growth thanks to new investments and increasing global demand for farmed seafood, reads the latest Report Card by the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (APEC).
"Aquaculture is the fastest growing source of food production in the world and Atlantic Canada is benefitting from this industry's rapid growth," said APEC Research Analyst Patrick Brannon.
At the same time, the industry must keep making efforts to cope with the strong Canadian dollar, fish diseases, increasing competition and environmental concerns.
"The aquaculture does get a lot of push back from other sectors that some industries don't because they share the same waters with the fishing industry," said Brannon, The Canadian Press reports.
The report looked at trends in the region's aquaculture-related production, which boomed from CAD 160 million (USD 161.4 million) in 1996 to CAD 356 million (USD 359.1 million) in 2010. The industry provided nearly 2,500 direct jobs in 2007 and another 2,200 indirectly.
"The aquaculture industry is particularly important in several rural regions with high unemployment levels where it provides much-needed work," noted Brannon.
New Brunswick's aquaculture industry has tended to be largest in the region, with production worth CAD 168 million (USD 169.5 million) in 2010. In Newfoundland and Labrador, private investment has helped the aquaculture industry develop rapidly from less than CAD 20 million (USD 20.2 million) in 2003 to more than CAD 116 million (USD 117 million) in 2010.
In Nova Scotia, new investment in aquaculture is pushing the industry forward from the CAD 41 million (USD 41.35 million) in 2010 activity. Though Prince Edward Island's aquaculture industry is Atlantic Canada's smallest, generating CAD 30 million (USD 30.26 million) in 2010, it has specialized in mussels and oysters instead of doing so in Atlantic salmon like the rest of the region.
Brannon believes there is lots of potential for growth in the region, especially for Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.
The report affirmed that enterprises in Atlantic Canada will need to enhance their competitive edge by way of research, investment in infrastructure, productivity improvements and a sales focus on burgeoning markets while simultaneously slashing their environmental impact. The industry needs to be fully integrated and include productive growers and processors, strong supporting industries and linkages to universities and research institutes to maximize benefits in Atlantic Canada and augment its competitive position in the global food products industry.
By Natalia Real