Aquaculture in Atlantic Canada

Alternate species: Halibut, Sturgeon, Cod and Others


Opportunities are plentiful for this alternate species, with halibut farming now taking place in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick, where the fish are raised in land-based recirculation and marine net pen facilities. Nova Scotia, particularly, is a key contributor to Atlantic halibut production on the global stage. For instance, Scotian Halibut Limited in Clark's Harbour, Nova Scotia, is North America's primary year-round supplier of fresh Atlantic halibut and juvenile fish for ongrowing. There is a well-established brood stock program, including a pedigree database (like genetic fingerprinting) and production of all-female stock, for faster growth.


Sturgeon species are endangered and at risk of extinction in many parts of the globe, including Atlantic Canada. Over the last two decades, a few companies in New Brunswick have developed innovative methods to produce Atlantic and shortnose sturgeon juveniles for restocking and restoration efforts, as well as for meat and caviar production. Acadian Sturgeon and Caviar Inc. and Breviro Caviar Inc. are now into full-cycle production of high quality, rare sturgeon products to feed the insatiable global demand.

European Sea Bass and Sea Bream

European sea bass and sea bream are raised in Nova Scotia using innovative recirculation technology. Native to Europe, these exotic fish are contained on land to optimize growth conditions.


Cod aquaculture in Atlantic Canada is in its pre-commercial stage and is a priority for development.[1] This iconic species formed the basis of centuries of harvesting from European countries and is in high demand due to its fresh quality and taste. The environment in Atlantic Canada is conducive to full-cycle culture of this premium finfish, but further work is needed on R&D with Atlantic cod to lower the production costs so that this highly sought-after white-flesh fish can be produced on a commercial scale. Atlantic Canada is uniquely positioned to lead the R&D effort to commercialize this species.

Arctic Char

The farming of Arctic char is also being established in Atlantic Canada. For example, the Millbrook First Nation, in Nova Scotia, has a land-based Arctic char facility capable of producing approximately 100 tonnes annually. The Coastal Zones Research Institute in New Brunswick has pioneered research into the farming of this species by introducing an Arctic char brood stock program.

Photo Credit: Cyr Couturier, MUN Marine Institute

Photo Credit: Cyr Couturier, MUN Marine Institute

Other Species

Other species under research or in pre-commercial development in Atlantic Canada include eel, bay and sea scallops, and kelp.

Photo Credit: Cyr Couturier, MUN Marine Institute


Atlantic Canadian companies are global leaders in bringing high quality, high value alternative species to market. The technology developed in Atlantic Canada for these species is sought after worldwide. The North American Free Trade Agreement allows direct access to one of the largest seafood markets in the world.

If you would like more information on this sector, please contact:

Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
P.O. Box 6051
Moncton, New Brunswick

Phone: 1-506-851-2271
Toll-free: 1-800-561-7862 (Canada and United States)
Fax: 1-506-851-7403



Catalogue number: AC5-18/2011E-PDF ISBN: 978-1-100-19852-1 ACOA: 2011-12

[1] Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 2010. National Aquatic Strategic Action Plan Initiative

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