Canada's Seafood Product Preparation and Packaging Industry

Canadas seafood product preparation and packaging industry, North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) 3117, consists of establishments that are primarily engaged in canning seafood, including soup; smoking, salting and drying seafood; preparing fresh fish by removing heads, fins, scales, bones and entrails; shucking and packing fresh shellfish; processing marine fats and oils; and freezing seafood. Establishments known as floating factory ships which are engaged in shipboard processing of seafood are included.

Significance

The Canadian seafood product preparation and packaging industry provides substantial economic benefits to the Canadian economy, contributing to employment, exports and investment from coast to coast. Canada is the worlds largest producer and exporter of Atlantic lobster ($1.1 billion) and the eighth largest seafood exporting nation.

Structure

In 2012, 722 seafood processing establishments were operating in Canada with the majority located in Nova Scotia (188), Newfoundland and Labrador (148), British Columbia (137), and New Brunswick (83). In the same year, the industry generated revenues of $4.3 billion and employed over 33,000 people. The industry is a net exporter of processed fish and seafood products, exporting $3.5 billion and importing $2.7 billion in 2014. Approximately 70% of Canadas total fish and seafood production is exported. Canadas top export markets are the United States (55%), China (11%) and Japan (7%). Canadas top import markets were the US (23%), China (17%), Thailand (12%), and Vietnam (10%).

The industry sources product from many regions across Canada. The Atlantic and Pacific commercial ocean fisheries are the largest contributor to production, followed by aquaculture and freshwater fisheries. Shellfish represent 53% of ocean fishery harvest, pelagic fish (e.g. salmon and tuna) 24% and groundfish (e.g., cod, haddock) 21%. Freshwater fish represent 7% of total wild harvest production, the majority sourced from lakes in Ontario and Manitoba.

Canadian seafood product preparation and packaging industry imports, exports and sales of goods manufactured (2012)
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The following figures are in millions of Canadian dollars.

Canadian seafood product preparation and packaging industry imports, exports and sales of goods manufactured (2012)
Imports 2,223.00
Exports 2,958.00
Domestic shipments 1,322.40
Canadian market (imports and domestic shipments) 3,545.40
Sales of goods manufactured (exports and domestic shipments) 4,280.40

Source: Statistics Canada

Performance

Between 2004 and 2012, sales of goods manufactured by the Canadian fish and seafood product preparation and packaging industry fluctuated from $4.3 billion, dipping to a low of $3.7 billion in 2009, subsequently returning to their previous level by 2012. Similarly, exports of processed fish and seafood decreased steadily from 2004 to 2009 and then crept back up, surpassing 2004 exports in 2014. From 2004 to 2012, imports grew at an average annual growth rate of 4.7%. As a result, imports represent a greater proportion of the domestic market, increasing to 62.7% in 2012 compared to 61.8% in 2004. During the same period, employment declined slightly from 33,878 to 33,034 employees.

Canadian seafood product preparation and packaging industry sales of goods manufactured and employment (2004-2012)
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Canadian seafood product preparation and packaging industry sales of goods manufactured and employment (2004-2012)
2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Sales of goods manufactured (in millions of Canadian dollars) 4,270.44 3,990.35 3,955.49 3,850.93 3,687.28 3,440.14 3,772.42 4,134.02 4,280.44
Employment (number of people) 33,875 30,695 29,436 30,225 27,647 27,305 29,599 31,611 33,034

Source: Statistics Canada

Note: The manufacturing statistics cited in this profile are taken from Statistics Canadas Annual Survey of Manufactures and Logging, which lags behind the current date by at least 2 years.

Seafood product preparation & packaging manufacturing, 2004-2013

Table showing principal statistics in the canadian seafood product preparation and packaging industry for 2004-2012
Principal statistics [a] 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2012/11 AAG [b]
2007-12
Employment total (number of employees) 33,875 30,695 29,436 30,225 27,647 27,305 29,599 31,611 33,034 4.5% 1.8%
Employment – production (number of employees) 30,679 27,538 26,316 27,191 24,508 24,312 26,426 28,379 29,562 4.2% 1.7%
Employment - administration (number of employees) 3,196 3,157 3,120 3,034 3,139 2,993 3,173 3,232 3,472 7.4% 2.7%
Total revenue (millions $) 4,560 4,300 4,234 4,108 3,945 3,698 4,036 4,396 4,557 3.7% 2.1%
Revenue from goods manufactured (millions $) 4,270 3,990 3,955 3,851 3,687 3,440 3,772 4,134 4,280 3.5% 2.1%
Value-added, goods manufactured (millions $) 1,152 1,136 1,155 1,130 1,079 1,101 1,212 1,329 1,348 1.4% 3.6%
Value-added/worker, goods manufactured (millions $) 0.04 0.04 0.04 0.04 0.04 0.05 0.05 0.05 0.05
Value-added as % of revenue from goods manufactured 27.0% 28.5% 29.2% 29.3% 29.3% 32.0% 32.1% 32.2% 31.5%
Domestic market (millions $) 2,495 2,428 2,723 2,854 2,679 2,806 2,849 3,355 3,545 5.7% 4.4%
Domestic penetration 38.2% 35.5% 39.4% 39.3% 34.8% 32.5% 35.1% 35.6% 37.3%

Note:

  • [a] Statistics Canada, Annual survey of manufactures and logging (ASML) (note there is at least a 2 year lag in ASML figures)
  • [b] Average annual growth rate
Table showing global trade statistics in the canadian seafood product preparation and packaging industry for 2004-2013
Global trade statistics [a] 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2013/12 AAG [b]
2008-13
Exports (millions $) 3,317.7 3,128.7 2,881.7 2,729.5 2,755.6 2,527.9 2,771.9 2,939.8 2,958.0 3,115.0 5.3% 2.5%
Exports as % of revenue from goods manufactured 77.7% 78.4% 72.9% 70.9% 74.7% 73.5% 73.5% 71.1% 69.1%
Imports (millions $) 1,542.2 1,566.2 1,649.2 1,732.6 1,747.6 1,893.9 1,848.8 2,160.6 2,223.0 2,427.1 9.2% 6.8%
Imports as % of domestic market 61.8% 64.5% 60.6% 60.7% 65.2% 67.5% 64.9% 64.4% 62.7%
Balance of trade (millions $) 1,775.5 1,562.6 1,232.5 997.0 1,008.0 634.1 923.1 779.2 735.0 687.9

Note:

  • [a] Industry Canada trade data online (Statistics Canada data)
  • [b] Average annual growth rate
Table showing trade statistics with the United States in the canadian seafood product preparation and packaging industry for 2004-2013
Trade statistics with the United States [a] 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2013/12 AAG [b]
2008-13
Exports (millions $) 1,856.3 1,664.2 1,509.0 1,432.3 1,491.1 1,382.3 1,501.1 1,593.0 1,561.1 1,723.8 10.4% 2.9%
Imports (millions $) 433.9 423.0 399.5 411.2 423.0 453.0 431.0 529.3 561.0 605.2 7.9% 7.4%
Balance of trade (millions $) 1,422.4 1,241.2 1,109.5 1,021.1 1,068.1 929.3 1,070.1 1,063.7 1,000.1 1,118.5

Note:

  • [a] Industry Canada trade data online (Statistics Canada data)
  • [b] Average annual growth rate

Contact us

For more information about Canada's food industry, read Significance of the Food and Beverage Processing Industry in Canada or contact the Sector Development and Analysis Directorate at sdad-ddas@agr.gc.ca.

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