Production value of N.L. seafood industry climbs to $1.4B

Published on March 15, 2017

The production value of Newfoundland and Labrador’s seafood industry reached another record high in 2016.

It totalled over $1.4 billion last year, an increase of 8.9 per cent over 2015.

Fisheries and Land Resources Minister Steve Crocker announced the release of the 2016 Seafood Industry Year in Review today in the House of Assembly, ahead of his trip to Boston with Premier Dwight Ball for Seafood Expo North America 2017 on Sunday.

“We will be accompanying our world-class seafood marketing team and the Newfoundland and Labrador delegation to join the 1,200 companies, and over 21,000 buyers, suppliers, media and other seafood professionals at North America’s largest seafood trade event,” Crocker said.

Fisheries and Land Resources Minister Steve Crocker
TC Media file photo

Crocker said the event provides a great opportunity to promote the province’s quality seafood products to fishing industry representatives and other seafood professionals from around the world.

Other highlights of the report include:


- The increase in value is largely attributed to a rebound in aquaculture production. Aquaculture represented 19.2 per cent of the total seafood industry production value in 2016, in comparison to 12.2 per cent in 2015. The wild fisheries represented the remainder.


-  The seafood industry employed 17,472 people from over 400 communities in the province, relatively on par with 2015. The number of registered fish harvesters increased 1.6 per cent to 9,491 workers. Employment in the processing sector declined 2.1 per cent to 7,557 workers in 2016. The number of workers employed in the aquaculture sector decreased 3.4 per cent to 424 workers.


- While the value of landings declined 10.6 per cent to $708 million in 2016, it remains the second highest landed value recorded in the history of the Newfoundland and Labrador fishery.


- The shellfish sector continued to account for the majority of landings and value of the commercial fishery in 2016, accounting for 50.5 per cent of total fish landings and 80.2 per cent of the associated value.


- In 2016, the volume of lobster landings remained on par with 2015, totalling 2,770 tonnes. The associated landed value increased 7.2 per cent to $35 million, a result of higher raw material prices. The landed price of lobster averaged $5.41 per pound in 2015 and rose to an average of $5.76 per pound in 2016


- Groundfish represented 18.7 per cent of total fish landings in 2016 and 16.6 per cent of landed value. The volume of groundfish landings increased 20.1 per cent to 41,611 tonnes in 2016. There was a rise in landings for nearly all groundfish species. The most notable increases were recorded for cod and flounders, up 51.9 per cent to 16,285 tonnes and 28.0 per cent to 8,969 tonnes respectively.


- The seal harvest in Newfoundland and Labrador experienced a better year in 2016 than in 2015, even as it continues to be challenged by market access restrictions. The number of seals harvested totalled 66,504, representing an increase of 85.5 per cent in comparison to 35,842 seals harvested in 2015. In 2016, the overall Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for harp seals in eastern Canada was 400,000. The associated landed value of seals increased 43.2 per cent to $1.6 million.


- The aquaculture industry reached peak production in 2016, exceeding the previous peak volume and value recorded in 2013. Aquaculture production totalled 28,622 tonnes, representing a 25.5 per cent increase over 2015. The growth was attributable to increased salmonid production, in particular Atlantic salmon production. Market value for the industry also experienced significant growth in 2016. It totalled $276 million, compared to $161 million in 2015.


- The seafood industry is expected to be positively impacted in 2017 by continued strong global demand for seafood products and benefits generated from trade-related initiatives. The Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement will provide Newfoundland and Labrador seafood producers with considerable market opportunities into the European Union.


- In 2017, total fish landings are expected to decline relative to 2016. It is anticipated that a projected increase in groundfish landings will mostly offset lower landings of pelagics and shellfish. The aquaculture industry is anticipated to see continued growth in 2017. Further growth in Atlantic salmon production is expected, while trout production is anticipated to remain stable.


The full report can be found here