The total value of seafood production remained steady at C$1 billion, with total production volume reaching 137,000 tonnes. The United States, China, the United Kingdom, Russia, and Denmark remained the provinces top five export markets, representing C$740 million in sales.
“The seafood industry contributes significantly to the Newfoundland and Labrador economy and this province is an important player on the world stage,” said Derrick Dalley, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.
“There were over 20,000 jobs within the processing and harvesting sectors last year, and the fish produced continued to be world-class in terms of quality and taste. Total seafood production was approximately 137,000 tonnes, with a value of C$1 billion. Production value was on par with the previous year; however, changing market forces and the impact of the world economy on the province continued to present challenges for the industry. That said, consumer demand continues to grow and our government is optimistic the value of this industry will remain strong for years to come as a result.”
Seafood production declined slightly from 2011 but remained high from a historical perspective. The average market price for cooked and peeled coldwater shrimp peaked in 2011 and remained at that level for 2012, while market prices for other key species declined. The market price for snow crab five to eight ounce sections declined slightly in 2012 as well, after reaching a record level in 2011.
Aquaculture production volume grew overall, although there was a decrease of six per cent in market value. The price of salmon began to rebound toward the end of 2012 and is anticipated to stay strong for 2013.
Employment growth was slowed by competing employment opportunities and the aging workforce. Still, over 20,000 people worked in the seafood industry throughout Newfoundland and Labrador last year.
“Protecting and growing our seafood industry is a responsibility of great importance for us all,” said Minister Dalley.
“There is no doubt that Newfoundland and Labrador’s seafood industry continues to be negatively impacted by high operating costs and a strong Canadian dollar relative to currencies in key export markets. However, through the cooperative efforts of industry, communities, residents and our government, we will ensure the industry’s viability and sustainability. Fish harvesting and processing have shaped who we are as a people, and will undoubtedly continue to shape our success as a province in the future.”