Growth Of Aquaculture In Canada

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Aquaculture is an industry that controls the farming of fresh water and marine finfish, shellfish, and some aquatic plants (Aquaculture Association of Nova Scotia, n.d.). Historically, First Nations practiced a form of aquaculture that consisted of transferring fish species from one river to another (Suprenant, 2010). However, the demand for seafood has increased greatly since then, as seafood has become a more dominant part of the human diet. Global seafood consumption increased from 3% in 1950 to over 50% in 2010 (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, 2013). As a result the industry has seen very strong growth globally, with over a 400% increase in aquaculture production since 1989 (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, 2013). Due to the…show more content…
However, it was not until the 1970s that aquaculture facilities began to produce on a commercial scale (Parliament of Canada, 2001). While it began with small and local operators, due to international competition, provincial policies, and incentives, there was a sharp increase in the concentration of multinational corporations (Wiber, Young & Wilson, 2012). Upon arrival of large-scale fishery in Atlantic Canada, changes began to happen immediately. James Speth claimed that because large-scale industries are primarily focused on economic growth they often do so by allowing the environment to suffer (Speth, 2008). Speth states that today’s corporations are externalizing machines, meaning that they will keep real costs of their activities external to the books in order to increase economic growth. There are several negative externalities that arise from the aquaculture industry. Negative externalities are costs that are external to the firm, a cost that the producer does not have to bear (Speth, 2008). The first negative externality arises from the pesticides used throughout the growing process. While pesticides may help producers…show more content…
Thus, it is becoming increasingly important for producers to change their ways. A recent report of the aquaculture industry in Nova Scotia stated that an overhaul of the regulations is required that promotes a low-level of adverse environmental and social impact while producing positive economic and social value (Doelle & Lahey, 2014). There are more resources than ever to do so, with over thirty Atlantic Canadian organizations offering research and development services for the aquaculture industry (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, 2013). Certain producers have started to lead the way in sustainable aquaculture. For example, one of the biggest concerns with aquaculture is the organic waste produced by the fish as it can result in algal blooms and lower oxygen levels in the water (Surprenant, 2010). However, Integrated Multitrophic Aquaculture (IMTA), is a modern farming system that aims to decrease the levels of waste by using organic waste products as food for other species like seaweed and shellfish (Suprenant, 2010). Another step being taken by some producers is lowering the amount of fish feed required. Fish feed is one of the largest costs for farm operators and also the source of waste described previously. Twenty years ago, it took around two kilograms of feed to grow a kilogram of salmon, however now the ratio is closer to 1.1:1 (Demont, 2012).

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