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BC benefits from farmed salmon boom

Rob Fletcher
Rob Fletcher
29 September 2017, at 8:37am

The value of British Columbia’s farmed salmon industry has increased by 37 percent over the past three years, resulting in the creation of over 1,600 jobs, according to an independent economic analysis.

The study, published this week, reveals that the farming and processing of 92,800 metric tonnes of salmon in the province in 2016 resulted in over $1.5 billion towards the BC economy.

92,800 tonnes of salmon were harvested in BC last year
92,800 tonnes of salmon were harvested in BC last year

© BCSFA

“The full value chain in the salmon aquaculture sector has turned record high prices over much of the past three years into an unprecedented investment in the sector, including farming infrastructure, process plants, land-based hatcheries, and marine vessels – the net result is an increase in business performance, as well as an increase in environmental and biological performance,” said BC Salmon Farmers’ Association (BCSFA) Executive Director Jeremy Dunn.  

Highlights of the report include the following:

  • The total output generated by the BC farm-raised salmon industry increased 37 percent from $1,144.0 million to $1,561.9 million. 
  • The total GDP generated by the BC farm-raised salmon industry increased 36 percent from $411.5 million to $557.8 million. 
  • The total employment generated by the BC farm-raised salmon industry increased 33 percent – from 4,977 to 6,610 full-time equivalents. 
  • The government taxes generated by the BC farm-raised salmon industry increased 39 percent – from $62.0 to $86.1 million. 
  • The total production of farm-raised salmon in BC has increased 8% since 2002. 
BC farmed salmon generates 6,610 FTE jobs in the province
BC farmed salmon generates 6,610 FTE jobs in the province

A prime example of the levels of investment and innovation is offered by BCSFA Member Poseidon Ocean Systems in Campbell River. Port Hardy native Matt Clarke launched the company in December of 2015 to provide full aquaculture engineering and support services, focusing on collaborative problem solving and new product development for the sector. Less than two years later, the Poseidon team is 15 strong in Campbell River, they have opened an office in Newfoundland, and have been used by the industry to engineer better farms, better moorings, and leading-edge aeration equipment designed to improve biological results and environmental performance – both in BC and internationally.

Salmon farmers have worked closely with First Nations partners through this period, with 20 Nations and many First Nations owned businesses benefiting from working together. 

Earlier this month, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program recognized BC’s industry by changing its recommendation of BC farm-raised Atlantic salmon to “good alternative”.  BC is the only such region in the world to have this distinction for its entire Atlantic salmon production.