A fully sustainable fisheries and aquaculture sector goes from fin to
OTTAWA, Dec. 5, 2013 /CNW/ - Canada's commercial fisheries, aquaculture
and processing industries could build on what is already a $7-billion a
year sector by targeting the rising global demand for fish and seafood.
To capitalize on growing markets abroad, the industry needs to overcome
its own fragmentation and uncertainty, according to a new Conference
Board report from the Centre for Food in Canada. Strengthening Canada's Commercial Fisheries and Aquaculture: From Fin to
Fork assesses trends and provides recommendations to make the Canadian
industry more economically-viable—and ensure that it is done
Canadian commercial fisheries, aquaculture, and processing sectors
provide nearly 83,000 jobs, with $7 billion in output annually.
Commercial sea fisheries account for about 70 per cent of the output.
Efforts are underway to manage ecological challenges -- 88 per cent of
major Canadian fish stocks were harvested below approved levels in 2011
and many retailers and distributors have sustainable sourcing
Frequent mislabeling is a concern for the sector, because consumers are
less able to make informed choices about the quality and safety of fish
and seafood products.
"The sector needs to improve its ability to sustain the resource and the
environment along the entire supply chain, from fin to fork," said
Jean-Charles Le Vallée, Senior Research Associate. "Success will depend
on shifting the focus and pressure away from maximizing volumes caught
or produced—and toward maximizing value of the product."
Canada is already one of the world's leading exporters of fish and
seafood products, with exports valued at over $4.1 billion in 2012.
Canada's largest market by value is the United States (62 per cent),
followed by China (11 per cent), the European Union (8 per cent) and
Japan (6 per cent).
Fish and seafood are valuable sources of nutrients that can contribute
to a healthy diet, yet consumption is declining in Canada. Reversing
the decline will require renewed marketing of the health benefits of
fish and seafood. Rapidly growing global demand —due to the rise of the
middle class in Asia, among other factors—offers stronger opportunities
for the sector.
By 2021, the Food and Agriculture Organization forecasts demand will
increase by 15 per cent over 2009-11 average levels. Most of that
growth is expected to be in aquaculture (farmed fish), but Canada has
lost 40 per cent of its global market share in this industry since
2002. Financial restraints, rising costs of fish food, ecological
concerns, regulatory requirements, and limited marketing are among the
challenges the Canadian industry faces to become a more notable player
in this market.
Although Canadian production is abundant, commercial sea harvests are
declining. The number of Canadian fishing vessels has dropped by 15 per
cent in the last decade, yet the harvesting fleet is still
over-capacity—particularly in the Atlantic region. Furthermore, climate
change is expected to shift future catches toward lower value stocks of
fish in the Atlantic region.
The report's recommendations for the fisheries sector include:
communicating the benefits of fish and seafood to domestic consumers;
modernizing regulations and legislation; setting and enforcing
ecological limits and objectives; and improving eco-certification
efforts, and data about the fisheries sector.
This report is one of 20 being produced by the Centre for Food in Canada. Since 2010, the Centre has been engaging stakeholders from business,
government, academia, associations, and communities in creating a Canadian Food Strategy —one that will meet the country's need for a coordinated, long-term
strategy on industry prosperity, healthy and safe food, household food
security, and environmental sustainability.
The strategy will be launched at the 3rd Canadian Food Summit 2014: From Strategy to Action, March 18-19 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
SOURCE: Conference Board of Canada
For further information:
Yvonne Squires, Media Relations, Tel.: 613-526-3090 ext. 221