Fishing is a cornerstone industry sector in Nova Scotia. Today, the export value of Nova Scotia fish and seafood is close to $1 Billion, with products exported to almost 90 countries worldwide. Nova Scotia produces one quarter of Canada’s seafood, the largest proportion of any province.
The fishing industry is a principal employer in many parts of Nova Scotia. Direct and indirect employment is in the range of 30,000 people.
Shellfish such as lobster, scallop and snowcrab now account for almost 50% of the total catch. Other important species include haddock, herring, and pollock. The industry is also diversifying through the catch of non-traditional species such as sea cucumber, kelp and sea urchins.
Many Nova Scotia companies are also engaged in aquaculture, or commercial fish farming, concentrating on salmon, trout, mussels, scallops and oysters. There are close to 400 aquaculture sites around the province.
The Nova Scotia seafood industry is being visibly transformed from a resource-driven sector to one which is more market-driven and sustainable. There is a new emphasis on optimizing value from the resource, with better delivery systems, customer service, customized packaging and putting former waste products to new uses. It is also being influenced by cutting-edge fish processing technologies and recognition of the health benefits of seafood, especially Omega-3.
The change is reflected in the statistics. In 2007, Nova Scotia’s exports of prepared and packaged seafood products ($499 Million) exceeded those from fishing ($461 Million).
Over 70 per cent of Nova Scotia’s seafood products have traditionally been exported to the United States. However, recent marketing efforts have been successful in opening significant new markets in Europe and the Pacific Rim.
Trade Team Nova Scotia Representative: the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture
Industry Associations: the Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia (AANS) and the Nova Scotia Fish Packers Association