Canada facing ‘alarming’ drop in salmon output

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Canada is facing an alarming decline in salmon farming production, the industry’s main body has warned.

The Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA) says the decline is the equivalent of 390 million meals.

The Alliance is now urging the federal government in Ottawa to start making “science-based, common-sense decisions” about ocean-based aquaculture to enable salmon farmers to regain lost production and provide affordable meals to Canadian families.

It says farm-raised salmon production in Canada fell from a peak of 148,000 metric tonnes in 2016 to 90,000 metric tonnes in 2023, the lowest figure since the year 2000.

“Farm-raised salmon is the most popular seafood choice of Canadians,” CAIA maintains.

“This reduction from the peak in 2016 adds up to the equivalent of eliminating more than 390 million salmon meals in total, and when considering Canadian-raised salmon that is not exported, removing 192 million salmon meals from the dining tables of Canadian households.”

Tim Kennedy, the CAIA president and CEO said: “Canadians have said again and again that they want access to more Canadian-produced food. In the case of Canadian-raised salmon, they’re being denied and are seeing less and less.”

He continued: “Canada’s modern ocean salmon farming is among the most sustainable in the world with all farms being certified to international third-party standards and operating under modern regulations to protect the environment.

“The farm closures in BC since 2020 have not been based on science and have not put Canadian consumers’ best interests and health first.

“The peer-reviewed science consistently shows salmon farms have a less-than-minimal impact on wild salmon and salmon is one of the healthiest products for consumers.”

CAIA Chief Executive Tim Kennedy

Kennedy added: “For a country with so much potential, the overall reduction of Canadian-raised salmon is staggering,”

“We are ocean farming less than 1% of the viable area along our coastlines and producing less and less of an important domestic food supply when the market demand is remaining steady.”

The CAIA says that for many years Canada has been the fourth largest salmon producer in the world behind Norway, Chile and Scotland.

But it now risks being overtaken by the likes of Australia and the Faroe Islands which produced 77,600 tonnes and 89,100 tonnes respectively.



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