The first detailed records of planned aquaculture activity in Canada date back to 1857 when the first Superintendent of Fisheries in Lower Canada studied the incubation and hatching of Atlantic salmon and brook trout eggs. Shortly thereafter, in 1865, oyster production began in Prince Edward Island. By 1950, federal and provincial hatcheries were producing approximately 750 million freshwater fish annually, primarily for the purpose of re-stocking wild populations. Commercial aquaculture in Canada began in the 1970s and has since flourished, becoming an important national industry. In 1986, for example, aquaculture production was calculated to have earned $35,106,000. In 1988, values rose to an impressive $433,519,000!
Aquaculture refers to the farming or production of aquatic organisms, both plant and animal. In biological terms, this means improving the yield of aquatic organisms by deliberate manipulation of their rates of growth, mortality, and reproduction. The ultimate objective of aquaculture is to harvest a product that has commercial value.
Aquaculture facilities exist in every Canadian province and territory, with 378 companies employing more than 5,000 people. A 1995 survey revealed that 98% of the industry is Canadian owned.
Please see our Fisheries section for more information on the industry's history and types of aquaculture.