Aquaculture North America

CAIA states salmon farming shut down in B.C. to cause financial problems

February 14, 2023
By Maryam Farag

According to the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance, recent federal government licensing decisions to shut down sustainable salmon farming in parts of British Columbia means that Canadian salmon is costing more for families, is harder to find in grocery stores and is being replaced by farm-raised salmon flown in from elsewhere in the world.

Spot prices for West Coast fresh Atlantic salmon (all farm-raised) are at record highs for this time of year, up 20 per cent over the last few years, with the price jump being driven by reduced supply of B.C.-grown farm-raised salmon. Grocers looking for more Canadian-grown product in response to consumer demand are being forced to import salmon from other countries.

An already constrained global supply market for salmon and increasing demand for salmon is resulting in the highest prices ever. Further reduction of supply will exacerbate this situation. The supply from the Discovery Islands region was approximately 20,000 tonnes of salmon, the equivalent of 120 million meals and approximately one-quarter of the production of B.C. Replacing this Canadian salmon with product from other nations will result in an increased carbon footprint estimated at 163,000 tonnes of carbon due to air freight, or the same as adding 35,000 cars to the road.

“At a time of major food inflation resulting in higher prices for consumers, recent government decisions to shut down sustainable salmon farms, without scientific basis, and reduce supply to consumers is having a major price impact on this healthy, fresh and sustainable supply from Canada,” said Timothy Kennedy, president and CEO of the CAIA. “When the supply of farm-raised salmon drops, and demand continues, prices go up for Canadian families – it’s Economics 101.”

“These salmon farming licensing decisions also impact Canada’s economy. Less Canadian farm-raised salmon for Canadian domestic consumption and export means lost jobs in rural, coastal and Indigenous communities, and higher GHG emissions as the Canadian salmon is replaced by product flown in from elsewhere around the world. It doesn’t make sense to have a policy to reduce production of a sustainable, healthy, affordable, food product like Canadian farm-raised salmon, and these past licensing decisions must be corrected by the federal government.”

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