“When it comes to salmon farming, Atlantic Canada is unique – and that uniqueness is key to our sector’s success,” states an open letter to premiers
Dear Atlantic Premiers:
As our region, our country and the rest of the world move toward recovery from COVID-19, thank you for taking a public stand on the importance and value of Atlantic Canada’s homegrown, unique aquaculture sector.
At a time when domestic food production has never been more important, we applaud you for so clearly recognizing that Atlantic Canada’s aquaculture sector creates sustainable economic opportunities for many rural, coastal, and Indigenous communities while producing healthy, sustainable food. Our salmon farming sector alone generates just under $2 billion in economic output, $800 million in GDP and about $350 million in salaries for more than 8,000 workers. Atlantic Canadian salmon farmers grow 343 million climate-friendly and healthy meals annually.
When it comes to salmon farming, Atlantic Canada is unique – and that uniqueness is key to our sector’s success. Some factors that make Atlantic Canada unlike no other when it comes to salmon farming:
- Our unique, diverse and abundant natural ocean coastline: In terms of tides, winds, water depth, water temperature, marine ecosystems and benthic environments, our ocean waters are unlike any other. Our waters are the ideal place to farm fish, especially Atlantic salmon, in an environmentally sustainable way.
- Our collaboration: (The Atlantic Canadian way): Salmon farmers, academia, government, researchers, wild seafood harvesters and First Nations are known collaborators in areas of bay management, marine infrastructure and conservation. They work alongside each other in shared waters and waterfronts.
- Our innovation: As one of the regions that pioneered the global salmon farming sector, Atlantic Canada has become an extraordinary hub of innovative and sustainable aquaculture and cutting-edge marine research. We’re always evolving based on the latest science, research and technology.
- Our fish: The Atlantic salmon farmed here originate from native fish that have been swimming off the eastern coast of Canada for hundreds of thousands of years.
- Our support: 81% of consumers polled in Atlantic region support salmon farming (NRA 2022). That strong support has been steady for the past five years.
- Our wild salmon conservation efforts: Atlantic salmon farmers operate the World’s First Wild Salmon Marine Conservation Farm as part of the innovative Fundy Salmon Recovery partnership. The initiative is now seeing unprecedented inner Bay of Fundy wild salmon returns and revolutionizing wild salmon recovery efforts.
Thank you, Premiers, for pointing out that while the federal government has responsibility in managing Canada’s fisheries, Atlantic Canada’s aquaculture sector is well-managed under provincial regulations. This provincial oversight – which allows each province to adapt to its own coastal areas but with the shared goal of long-term sustainability – is yet another way that Atlantic Canada’s aquaculture sector is unique. Your public statement that you are “wholeheartedly committed to maintaining the existing system for licensing and overseeing aquaculture operations in Atlantic Canada” exhibits strong and collaborative leadership that supports our sector as we continue to play a vital role in both food security and the sustainable recovery of communities. Your support strongly reinforces the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2021 by Atlantic Canada’s aquaculture ministers to work together on a shared vision for the development and management of the region’s aquaculture sector.
Recognized by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations as one of the priorities to address climate change, aquaculture is a responsible, sustainable, and innovative means to provide adequate food supply to meet the world’s population growth while helping to reduce the pressure on wild fish stocks. The growing importance of aquaculture to feed the world opens a window of opportunity for seafood producing regions like Atlantic Canada. Grasping that full potential in Atlantic Canada will take a collaborative approach that balances environmental, social and economic priorities.
We remain committed to that goal and thank you once again for clearly demonstrating your commitment to that goal as well.
Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association
Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia
Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association
PEI Aquaculture Alliance
(IMAGE of Atlantic Canada salmon farm employees courtesy of Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association)