A MIXED picture of fish farming in the United States and Canada is presented in a detailed study of the fishing industry in North America.
The report was prepared by the Icelandic bank, Islandsbanki, which specialises in seafood issues and periodically published a detailed analysis of fishing industries in various parts of the world.
In the US the picture is one of decline while Canada is showing steady growth.
Of the situation in the US, the report says aquaculture volume peaked in 2004, with total production of 607,570 metric tonnes.
However, since then, aquaculture production has declined by 31 per cent, with the volume for 2012 just 420,024 metric tonnes – although the figure showed an increase of six per cent on the 2011 figure, suggesting the industry there may be starting to recover.
Despite the decrease in volume since 2004, Islandsbanki says the value of aquaculture production has been growing steadily for the past two decades, peaking in 2011 with a total value of roughly US $1.1 billion. In 2012, the value declined by nine per cent to $1-billion.
Canada ranks 25th among the world aquaculture producers, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
The report says that during the past 20 years, Canada’s total aquaculture production has increased at 6.8 per cent a year, from approximately 47,000 metric tonnes in 1992 to 174,000 tonnes in 2012.
Atlantic salmon is Canada’s top aquaculture product, representing about 62 per cent of total production in 2012.
Canada is the world´s fourth largest farmed salmon producer. Other key aquaculture species are mussels, oysters and trout.
Islandsbanki says the value of aquaculture production has increased in line with the rise in total volume during the past 20 years.
In 2012, the total value of Canadian aquaculture products was Canadian $825 million. Atlantic salmon is the most important species, representing 72 per cent of the total value in 2012.
Production is equally divided between the east and west coasts, with British Columbia accounting for 48 per cent of total production.
On the east coast, New Brunswick accounts for 18 per cent of production, followed by Prince Edward Island at 14 per cent and Newfoundland at 12 per cent.
Nationally, the industry provides well paid employment for 15,500 people; two-thirds of that figure is employed in farmed salmon.