Aquaculture in Atlantic Canada - Atlantic Salmon


Farmed salmon is the main species of the Atlantic Canadian aquaculture industry. It represents approximately 80% of Atlantic Canada's total aquaculture value (60% by volume) and more than 40,000 tonnes are harvested each year.[1] Production of farmed salmon is expected to exceed 60,000 tonnes by 2015.

Farm-raised salmon is a healthy and nutritious food now within reach of the average consumer the world over. This tasty delicacy is fast becoming the fish of choice for millions of people in restaurants and at home. In the past decade, salmon has become one of the top three healthy seafoods consumed by North Americans. Health Canada's food guide recommends at least two servings a week of oily fish such as farmed salmon for a well-balanced diet.

Since Atlantic salmon requires relatively warm water throughout the winter, Atlantic Canadian production occurs mainly on the southern coasts of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and the island portion of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Farmed salmon is one of the most efficient sources of animal protein to produce. Farmed salmon is incredibly efficient when it comes to growth. Wild salmon eat 10 times their weight in smaller fish throughout their lives. For every kilogram of feed a farmed salmon eats, it gains almost a kilogram of weight. In comparison, a pig needs to eat up to three kilograms of feed to put on one kilogram of weight and a cow needs to eat up to eight kilograms of feed per kilogram of weight gain. Atlantic Canadian salmon feed producers lead the way in the development of fish meal and fish oil replacement. In the 1990s, wild fish-based ingredients in feeds were as high as 80%. Today, it's as low as 30%, thereby reducing reliance on wild fish stocks.[2][3]New Brunswick's Bay of Fundy region is home to approximately 90 salmon farms and about 60% of Atlantic Canadian salmon production. However, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia are rapidly expanding their production. In fact, since 2006, salmonid production (Atlantic salmon and steelhead trout) in Newfoundland and Labrador has increased by 195% in volume (Statistics Canada, 2010), and if growth targets are met, it will double again in the next two or three years. In Nova Scotia, recently approved salmon and trout sites will increase capacity by 200% in the next few years, and additional sites are being sought. There is opportunity to expand salmon production in a variety of Atlantic Canadian coastal communities.

Photo Credit: Cyr Couturier, MUN Marine Institute

Photo Credit: Cyr Couturier, MUN Marine Institute


Other countries or regions may be farming it, but only Atlantic salmon from the waters of Atlantic Canada can live up to the name and deliver the recognized taste, quality and freshness consumers expect. Farmed Atlantic salmon is an excellent natural source of essential omega-3's for healthy hearts, minds and bodies. It is one of the best natural sources of vitamins, such as vitamin D, and is an excellent source of calcium for healthy bones.

Kilogram of dry food per kilogram of wet weight gain

Farmed Atlantic Salmon    1.2 to 1.5 
Broiler Chicken  2.0
Pork  2.5 to 3.0  
Lamb  4.0
Beef  5.9 to 8.0

Source: Costa-Pierce, 2002, Hardy, 2010

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] Statistics Canada. 2010, Canadian Aquaculture Statistics, Cat. 23-222-XWE, Ottawa, Ont.
[2] Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance, 2011
[3] Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association, 2011.

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