B.C. Salmon farmers show results from record prices and strategic investment

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By Milthon Lujan

Campbell River, Canada.– An independent economic analysis of the salmon aquaculture industry in British Columbia shows an increase of 37% over the past three years in its value to the province, resulting in the creation of over 1,600 jobs. Overall, farming and processing 92,800 Metric Tonnes of salmon in 2016 resulted in over $1.5-billion towards the B.C. economy.

• The total output generated by the B.C. farm-raised salmon industry increased 37 percent from $1,144.0 million to $1,561.9 million.

• The total GDP generated by the B.C. farm-raised salmon industry increased 36 percent from $411.5 million to $557.8 million.

• The total employment generated by the B.C. farm-raised salmon industry increased 33 percent from 4,977 to 6,610 full-time equivalents.

• The government taxes generated by the B.C. farm-raised salmon industry increased 39 percent from $62.0 to $86.1 million.

• The total production of farm-raised salmon in B.C. has increased 8% since 2002.

“The full value chain in the salmon aquaculture sector has turned record high prices over much of the past three years into an unprecedented investment in the sector including farming infrastructure, process plants, land-based hatcheries, and marine vessels leading – the net result is an increase in business performance, as well as an increase in environmental and
biological performance,” said BCSFA Executive Director Jeremy Dunn.

On September 18th, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program recognized B.C.’s industry by changing its recommendation of B.C. farm-raised Atlantic salmon to “good alternative”. B.C. is the only such region in the world to have this distinction for its entire Atlantic salmon production.

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At the centre of the investment and innovation story in B.C. is BCSFA Member Poseidon Ocean Systems in Campbell River. Port Hardy native Matt Clarke launched the company in December of 2015 to provide full service aquaculture engineering and support services, focusing on collaborative problem solving and new product development for the sector. Less than two years later, the Poseidon team is 15 strong in Campbell River, and they have also opened an office in Newfoundland. In addition, they have been looked to by the industry to engineer better farms, better moorings, and leading-edge aeration equipment designed to improve biological results and environmental performance in B.C. and internationally.

Salmon farmers have worked closely with First Nations partners through this period with 20 Nations and many First Nations owned businesses benefiting from working together.

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