Aquaculture North America

CAIA voices concern over Canada’s declining salmon production

May 8, 2024
By Aquaculture North America staff

Tim Kennedy, president and CEO, CAIA

Farm-raised salmon production in Canada dropped from 148,000 tonnes in 2016 to 90,000 tonnes in 2023, the lowest number since the year 2000 and the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA) is saying the main reason for the reduction is because of government-mandated farm closures in British Columbia.

CAIA said that this means a loss of about 390 million Canadian-produced salmon meals, with a replacement by salmon flown in from other countries.

“Canadians have said again and again that they want access to more Canadian-produced food. In the case of Canadian-raised salmon, they’re being denied and are seeing less and less,” said Tim Kennedy, president & chief executive officer of CAIA.

A 2020 order by the former Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan stated that the she didn’t intend to renew the licenses of 79 fish farms around Discovery Islands. Kennedy said the farm closures in B.C. since 2020 have not been based on science.


“The peer-reviewed science consistently shows salmon farms have a less-than-minimal impact on wild salmon and salmon is one of the healthiest products for consumers,” he added.

For many years, Canada has been the fourth largest salmon producer in the world behind Norway, Chile and Scotland. Norway’s salmon production was 1.55 million tonnes in 2022, 17 times larger than Canada’s 2023 production. With this drop, Canada’s fourth position is uncertain.

“For a country with so much potential, the overall reduction of Canadian-raised salmon is staggering,” said Kennedy. “We are ocean farming less than 1 per cent of the viable area along our coastlines and producing less and less of an important domestic food supply when the market demand is remaining steady.”

Kennedy said science shows salmon farms have a “less-than-minimal” impact on wild salmon and Canadian salmon farmers are committed to the stewardship of both wild and farm-raised salmon.

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