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Canadian Fishing Industry

Canada's fish and seafood industry is Naturally abundant...

Surrounded by the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and home to the Great Lakes, Canada boasts one of the world's most diverse fisheries in the world. Canada offers a wide variety of sustainably harvested species from many different areas of the country. In 2011, Atlantic Canada and Quebec commercial fishing landings were valued at $1.8 billion. Top Atlantic species in terms of value were lobster, snow crab, shrimp, scallops and Greenland turbot. Pacific commercial fishing landings were valued at $279 million. Top Pacific commercial species in terms of value were wild salmon, halibut, geoduck clams, spot prawns and Dungeness crab. Freshwater fish commercial landings were valued at $58 million. Top freshwater commercial species in terms of value were yellow pickerel, perch, whitefish, white bass and smelt.

Canada's coastlines and clean environment allow for some of the best aquaculture growing conditions in the world. Canada's aquaculture sector continues to produce world renowned responsibly produced fish and seafood. Canada's aquaculture production was valued at $846 million in 2011. Top species produced were salmon (Atlantic, coho and chinook), mussels, rainbow trout, oysters, and clams.

For more information on commercial landings and aquaculture statistics, please visit Fisheries and Oceans Canada's statistics webpage.

Economically important...

Canada's commercial fishing and aquaculture sectors provide more than 80,000 direct jobs to Canadians. They are the economic mainstay of many rural and coastal communities across Canada.

Canada was the world's fifth largest fish and seafood exporter in 2011, with exports to more than 130 countries. In 2012, Canada's fish and seafood exports were valued at $4.1 billion. The United States is Canada's largest export market (representing roughly 62% of seafood trade) followed by China (11%), the European Union (8%), Japan (6%) and Hong Kong (3%). Canada's fish and seafood imports were $2.8 billion in 2012, resulting in a significant annual trade surplus.

Sustainably managed...

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is the federal government department that regulates and manages the Canadian fishery. Fisheries and Oceans Canada works to secure the future of Canada's wild fisheries by initiating conservative management practices that focus on sustainable development and responsible fishing. Visit Department of Fisheries and Oceans's Sustainable Fish and Seafood Portal for more information.

Independently inspected and controlled...

Canada has one of the world's most respected fish inspection and control systems. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) ( sets the policies, requirements and inspection standards for fish products, federally registered fish and seafood processing establishments, importers, fishing vessels, and equipment used for handling, transporting and storing fish. All establishments which process fish and seafood for export or inter-provincial trade must be federally registered and must develop and implement a HACCP-based Quality Management Program (QMP) plan.

Officially certified for export...

The export certification program of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency provides exporters with official documentation that Canadian fish and seafood products sold on the international market will be acceptable to importing countries. Buyers can be assured that seafood from Canada will continue to meet the increasingly rigorous safety and wholesomeness standards required by the world's major seafood markets.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is responsible for marketing and trade development.

Watch some videos on the Canadian Fishing Industry...

Voyage of the 7 Girls
A year in the life of a north atlantic deepsea longliner called the 7 Girls. Follows the skipper and crew as they roam over thousands of miles of ocean, summer and winter, searching for giant swordfish, tuna and halibut. A portrait of a way of life so difficult, so tough and dangerous, that it is beyond imagining for those who haven't lived it.

Lobster Fishing on the Ashley & Alissa
Lobster fishing in May 2012 on the Ashley & Alissa in Lobster Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Nanaimo Herring Fishermen, Fishboats and the Sea
This video is about the Nanaimo area herring fishermen, their vessels, and the wildlife in the sea and sky around them. All scenes were shot on March 16th, 2011, when the herring fishery opened up. The shots were taken at Pipers Lagoon and Neck Point, from late morning to mid afternoon. Many of the clips were actually taken on the run. Like most live action, there are few chances for a reshoot in such a dynamic and breathtaking environment.

One Mans Paradise
Meet Llewellyn James Henneberry: commercial fisherman, yodeller, homespun philosopher, husband and father. And the creator of a very strange museum. A story told with great humour that mixes sea-going adventure and village life to reveal an extraordinary, ordinary man who has roamed the North Atlantic hunting for some of the largest fish in the sea.

History of Commercial Fisheries in Canada
Fisheries drew the first Europeans to what is now Canada, and still sustain large coastal and inland regions. The industry is defined by cycles of “boom and bust”, with fishermen enjoying periods of plentiful harvest and financial gain, only to suffer through periods of hardship and unemployment. Despite these ups and downs, Canadian fisheries and the lifestyle associated with them are intrinsic to certain regional identities, in particular those of British Columbia and Atlantic Canada.

Cold Water Cowboys
Discovery Channel travels to Newfoundland for an intense season of fishing in "Cold Water Cowboys." Following a fleet of six captains and their crews, the series takes viewers across hundreds of miles of the North Atlantic as the men try to rebuild the industry, catching crab, shrimp, turbot, herring and mackerel. With salt water in their blood, the crews face waves the size of houses and icebergs as large as some small cities in a race against time and one another. In a struggling industry, the "Cold Water Cowboys" do whatever it takes to fill the hatch and make as much money as possible.

Fishing Industry of Canada
The Canadian Council of Professional Fish Harvesters

Oscar Peterson, Fisherman

The Shack Locker
Yarns of the Deep Sea Fishing Fleets by Frederick William Wallace (1916) (pdf)

Salt Seas and Sailormen
By Frederick William Wallace (1923) (pdf)

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