Industry Overview for Fish and Seafood

The fish and seafood sector is highly export oriented, exporting about 75% of production. Surrounded by the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and home to the Great Lakes, Canada boasts one of the world's most diverse fisheries in the world and offers a wide variety of sustainably harvested species.

Canada's fish and seafood industry is...

  • economically important
    • Canada's commercial fishing and aquaculture sectors provide more than 80,000 direct jobs to Canadians.
    • Canada was the world's eighth largest fish and seafood exporter in 2015, with exports to more than 130 countries. In 2015, Canada's fish and seafood exports were valued at $6.0 billion.
    • The United States is Canada's largest export market (representing roughly 64% of seafood trade) followed by China (11%), the European Union (10%), Japan (4%) and Hong Kong (2%).
    • Canada's fish and seafood imports were $3.5 billion in 2015, resulting in a significant annual trade surplus.
    • In 2014, Atlantic Canada and Quebec commercial fishing landings were valued at $2.4 billion. Top Atlantic species in terms of value were lobster, snow crab, shrimp, scallops and Greenland turbot.
    • In 2014, Pacific commercial fishing landings were valued at $391 million. Top Pacific commercial species in terms of value were wild salmon, halibut, Dungeness crab, geoduck clams, and spot prawns.
    • In 2014 Freshwater fish commercial landings were valued at $63 million. Top freshwater commercial species in terms of value were yellow pickerel, perch, whitefish, white bass and pike.
    • Canada's aquaculture production was valued at $733 million in 2014. Top species produced were salmon (Atlantic, coho and chinook), mussels, rainbow trout, oysters, and clams.
  • sustainably managed
  • independently inspected and controlled
    • The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) sets the policies, requirements and inspection standards for fish products, federally registered fish and seafood processing establishments, importers, fishing vessels, and equipment used for handling, transporting and storing fish.
    • All establishments which process fish and seafood for export or inter-provincial trade must be federally registered and must develop and implement a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) -based Quality Management Program (QMP) plan.
  • officially certified for export
    • The export certification program of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency provides exporters with official documentation that Canadian fish and seafood products sold on the international market will be acceptable to importing countries.
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