Newfoundland's Fishing Industry Rebounds

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The Honourable Clyde Jackman, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, today released the Provincial Government?s annual Seafood Industry Year in Review publication for 2010. The report confirms that the province?s seafood producing sector experienced a substantial rebound in 2010, with production value reaching $942 million. This represented a 13.9 per cent growth rate over 2009, when the total production value was $827 million. The gains were mainly a result of increases in the production value of snow crab and shrimp, as market prices for these species strengthened in 2010. There was also continued substantial growth in the province?s aquaculture industry.


?Our government is pleased to see a dramatic improvement in the performance of the province?s seafood producing sector,? said Minister Jackman. ?The Seafood Industry Year in Review 2010 demonstrates the capacity of the fishing industry to recover in the face of a shifting global marketplace. Seafood markets have strengthened considerably, as crab prices reached record levels. Food prices are increasing across the globe and the seafood sector is benefiting from this. There has been a generally positive environment for the seafood processing sector and that is expected to continue in 2011.?

The province?s aquaculture industry experienced further dramatic growth over the past year. Aquaculture production reached a record level of 15,360 tonnes, valued at $116 million in 2010. Production rose 13 per cent and the market value for aquaculture products increased by 26 per cent. This was due primarily to higher production in the salmonid sector as prices for salmon continue to be strong across the globe. Aquaculture exports also increased in 2010. Both wild fisheries and the aquaculture industry saw a rise in production market value, up 12.4 per cent and 26.1 per cent respectively. These increases were primarily the result of higher market prices.

It was expected that there would be continued recessionary pressure in 2010. However, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill left both domestic and international consumers apprehensive about the seafood supply from the United States. Combined with low inventories for key species, this situation contributed to higher global seafood prices. Yet the fishing industry continues to be challenged by high fuel costs and the impact of the strong Canadian dollar on export sectors. Exporters receive less income when they are paid in foreign funds when the Canadian dollar is high.


Newfoundland and Labrador continues to be a significant exporter of seafood products. According to Statistics Canada, the province exported 181,036 tonnes of seafood to other countries in 2010, valued at over $780 million. This represents an increase of 8.1 per cent in export volume and 8.3 per cent in export value, when compared to 2009. There was a considerable rise in shell-on shrimp exports which also contributed to this increase. The province?s seafood products were exported to over 50 countries in 2010, with the United States and China continuing to be the primary export markets for the province.

Employment in the fishing industry declined by 5.3 per cent in 2010, as compared to 2009. The number of fish harvesters in the province was down 7.0 per cent to 10,802, while the number of employees in the seafood processing sector declined by 3.5 per cent to 10,340. Direct employment in the aquaculture industry increased 4.4 per cent, from 655 persons in 2009 to 684 persons in 2010. Overall, employment growth in the seafood industry has been slowed by competition from other industries and jurisdictions, out-migration and an aging workforce.

Total landings in the province?s fishing industry equalled 301,397 tonnes in 2010. A decline in pelagic landings was offset by increased shellfish catches. The landed value of the fishing industry equalled $439 million, up 3.7 per cent when compared to 2009. The shellfish sector comprised 59.6 per cent of total landings and generated 84 per cent of the total landed value for all capture fisheries.


There is some evidence of a decline in shrimp stocks while other key shellfish stocks remain relatively stable. However, in 2010, northern shrimp landings increased to approximately 90,000 tonnes, despite a 28 per cent quota cut in shrimp fishing area six. There will be further reductions on shrimp in 2011, with a 35 per cent reduction in the shrimp fishing area seven quota. This was determined by the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization. Most groundfish stocks remain at low levels while the yellowtail flounder stock on the Grand Banks appears to be fully recovered.

The value of the province?s sealing industry increased in comparison to 2009. The landed value increased 53 per cent to 1.3 million compared to $857,000 in the previous year. Landings rose 25.2 per cent in 2010 to 67,008 seals from 53,531 seals in 2009. However, seal landings remained low when compared to historical levels.

?Our government is very pleased with the rebound experienced by the fishing industry in 2010 as well as the incredible growth in the aquaculture industry,? said Minister Jackman. "We are committed to ensuring the existence of sustainable and vibrant fishing and aquaculture industries. The Newfoundland and Labrador seafood producing sector remains a major contributor to the provincial economy and a critical employer to coastal communities.?

The Seafood Industry Year in Review 2010 can be found here.

For more industry related news, click here.

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