Canadian fish and seafood industry - statistics & facts

Although seafood is often not as widely consumed in Western countries as beef or chicken, the global taste for seafood is on the rise. Typically more expensive than traditional meats, it is often lauded as a healthier, lighter option than a steak or a pork cutlet. Perhaps for this reason, global fish production has risen in the last decade, from approximately 141 million metric tons in 2007 to around 179 million metric tons in 2018. As a country with a huge coastline and an abundance of pristine lakes and rivers, it comes as no surprise that Canada has a thriving fish and seafood industry, exporting over five billion U.S. dollars of fish in 2018. In 2017, the average Canadian household spent about 219 Canadian dollars on seafood.

The volume of freshwater fish produced in Canada has remained somewhat consistent at around 18,000 to 19,000 metric tons. The shellfish industry is also a major part of Canadian seafood production, generating almost 75,000 metric tons of shellfish in 2018. The total seafood preparation and packaging industry in Canada generated around four billion U.S. dollars in 2017.

Although Canada is a major freshwater fish producer, many popular fish species are not widely produced there. Some of the different varieties of freshwater fish imported to Canada include trout, tilapia, catfish, salmon, and carp. In 2019, over 77.5 million Canadian dollars of trout were imported to Canada. Canada’s main freshwater fish exports in that year were whitefish, pickerel, perch, and smelt.

For Canadian consumers, the most widely available kinds of fish are fresh and frozen sea fish, with freshwater fish making up only a small proportion of what is available on the market. The main reasons Canadian consumers eat fish and seafood are taste and because they are a good source of nutritious fats. When deciding what kind of seafood to purchase, the factors that consumers are most concerned about are that the product is fresh and of good quality, only about three percent of Canadian consumers look for locally produced seafood when making a seafood purchase. The most popular variety of fish among Canadians is salmon, with two thirds of consumers eating salmon at home in the past six months.

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Fish and seafood industry in Canada

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