Unit F – 2002 Comox Ave., Comox, BC V9M 3M6 250.890.7561

Farming the ocean is crucial to meeting the world’s food requirements. Aquaculture’s share of global seafood consumption was more than 50% in 2010 (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization).

At the current rate of seafood consumption (16 Kg per year – on a per capita basis), many are projecting a shortfall of 50-80 million tonnes of food fish by 2030.  If capture volumes remain stable, the assumption is that the aquaculture industry (globally) will make up the shortfall.  This means that aquaculture outputs could double over the next 25 years. (This does not take into account farming to produce supplements.)

Factors to Consider:

  • Globally, the population is expected to rise from 7 billion to over 9 billion by 2050.
  • The amount of arable land available per person globally is shrinking.
  • Dietary guidelines published in the Canada Food Guide (Health Canada) recommend at least two servings of oily fish per week in a healthy, balanced diet. This represents double the current North American seafood consumption habits.
  • More than 85% of Canadian aquaculture production is exported; the US is our largest export market for farmed shellfish.
  • British Columbia farms 60% of the oysters produced in Canada.
  • British Columbia is Canada’s largest producer of farmed clams.
  • Canada’s total shellfish production in 2006 was 38,676 tonnes, with a value of $71 million.
  • By volume, mussels and oysters are the primary shellfish species cultured in Canada: in 2006, mussels accounted for 62% of the total national shellfish production while oysters accounted for an additional 32%.
  • Canada ranks 12th globally in the production of both mussels and oysters.

In global terms, British Columbia’s contribution to the production of farmed shellfish is small. British Columbia ranks as the 12th largest producer of Pacific Oysters, but only produces 0.12% of the value. Virtually the entire commercial harvest of British Columbia oysters is farmed and the commercial harvest of our farmed clams is steadily rising.

While production values increase, shellfish farming has not come anywhere near reaching its potential as a key economic driver for coastal communities in British Columbia. We have room to grow.