Economic Sectors > Resources-Based Sectors > Fishing and Aquaculture

Fishing and Aquaculture on Vancouver Island

This sector includes commercial and sports fishing, seafood products manufacturing and farmed seafood products. Wild fisheries include salmon, herring, ground fish and shellfish. Vancouver Island has some of the best natural conditions for aquaculture production and approximately 60% of the $410 million in annual GDP impacts generated by salmon farming in British Columbia are attributable to the industry on Vancouver Island.

In 2010, a moratorium was placed on issuing new finfish aquaculture licenses, in BC. In February 2015 the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) announced that there would be changes to the licensing system to allow multi-year licensing for aquaculture operators in BC beginning in Spring 2015. These changes are intended to reduce uncertainty for operators and encourage investment in new infrastructure and sustainable practices. 

Aquaculture production in BC fell by approximately 20 percent in 2014, the latest period for which data is available. This was driven by declines in salmon production which fell by 26 percent year over year. Shellfish production remained relatively stable. Export data suggests that salmon production increased in 2015 and will also be higher in 2016. Consequently, overall employment in the sector on Vancouver Island is expected to remain stable. 

For information sources and more detailed information on this sector including licensing, production volumes, employment, wages and number of businesses, consult recent editions of VIEA’s State of the Island Economic Report.