Innovative and home-grown, Atlantic Canada’s fish farming industry is helping fill a global need for healthy food and bringing economic prosperity to our region. 

Atlantic Canada’s salmon farming industry is one of this region’s biggest economic drivers. Salmon farming employs over 3,000 people in our region, directly contributes over $350 million dollars to the economy and grows over 300 million meals annually.

Farmed salmon is the biggest agriculture-based export in Atlantic Canada. Atlantic Canadian fish farms - locally owned and operated -  produce 50 per cent of Canada’s farmed salmon. Our farmers produce between 40 and 70 thousand tonnes of fish annually, or between approximately ten and twenty million fish. More than 75 per cent of our region’s farmed salmon is exported to the United States.

The salmon farming industry has revitalized coastal communities across Atlantic Canada. Charlotte County, New Brunswick is only one example. Once hard hit by unemployment, Charlotte County became the birthplace of Canada’s east coast commercial salmon farming industry nearly four decades ago. Now, the industry directly and indirectly creates 1,870 jobs in Charlotte County alone, which represents about 16 per cent of employment in the area and 26 per cent of employment income.


Faces of Salmon Farming

Meet some of the people who work in the salmon farming industry in Atlantic Canada. They live, work and raise their families right here in your communities, and are world-class experts in their fields.

Meet Amanda

One of the growing number of women who work in aquaculture.

Meet Clarence

One man’s leap of faith brings jobs to Charlotte County.

Meet Stacey

A fish health veterinarian finds her niche in aquaculture.

Meet Jason

Production manager leads innovative approach at St. George processing plant.

Meet Steve

After almost 25 years, fish health pioneer still relishes the opportunities.


Salmon Farming's Ripple Effect

While many of the jobs directly related to salmon farming occur in Atlantic Canada’s rural and coastal communities, the success of salmon farming has created employment opportunities throughout the region in feed manufacturing, packaging, transportation, the supply and service sectors as well as spin-off jobs in other sectors of the community including retail and tourism.



Atlantic Canada can reap the benefits from the growing global demand for seafood, and by doing so create even more jobs at home, generate investment and renew the tax base in rural communities.

Over the past forty years, global salmon production has more than doubled due to demand. Today the world’s salmon farmers produce 2.1 million tonnes of salmon annually at a value of $10 billion US.

And tremendous potential exists for even more industry growth

Some facts:

  • By 2030, the world’s population is predicted to increase by another 2 billion
  • The amount of food that will be consumed in the world in the next 50 years will exceed ALL the food eaten in the rest of human history.
  • Global production of seafood is rising rapidly at a pace of seven to nine per cent each year.  
  • By 2050, worldwide animal protein consumption will rise nearly 73 per cent.
  • The capture fishery cannot meet the growing global demand. Farmed fish products currently account for more than half of the total fish landed globally
  • Salmon has now surpassed beef in worldwide production. 

Supporting our communities

ACFFA members are part of the social fabric of our communities. We support a variety of programs aimed at conserving our wild marine and freshwater resources.  

Salmon farming started as a result of the lessons learned in wild salmon rehabilitation, enhancement and salmon ranching activities. Today salmon farmers work with conservation organizations to apply new technology to rehabilitation efforts throughout the Atlantic region.

Inner Bay of Fundy Salmon Recovery Project

The Inner Bay of Fundy (iBoF) Salmon Recovery Project is an award-winning innovative collaboration making significant strides in the recovery of inner Bay of Fundy wild Atlantic salmon, listed as an endangered Species at Risk since 2003. 

The 2009-2013 ACRDP funded project saw salmon farmers raise wild smolts from the Upper Salmon River in Fundy National Park in custom-designed aquaculture net pens on a salmon farm in the Bay of Fundy, releasing them back into their home rivers.  The project evaluated whether rearing wild smolt to maturity in marine pens during their first typical saltwater life phase and then releasing them prior to spawning season would improve wild fitness and survival, as compared to their siblings that spent their life in a freshwater hatchery.

Results from the three-year pilot of this groundbreaking collaboration suggested fish with less exposure to captivity before the smolt stage have better surviving offspring and overall wild fitness. The project was recognized nationally with a Parks Canada CEO Award of Excellence in 2011 for innovations in engaging partners for conservation and in being a significant contributor to Parks Canada’s mandate to help preserve the wildness of our parks.

Based on this early success, the wild salmon recovery method pioneered by this project could become an important method to help recover wild salmon in the Bay of Fundy and elsewhere.  If results continue to show the same promise, the project team hopes others will join the collaboration to help recover stocks of other wild salmon rivers throughout the region.

The current project we are working on (started in 2014) is a partnership between a number of groups with a shared goal of restoring wild salmon stocks. It is a wonderful example of how scientists, conservationists, salmon farmers, First Nations and governments can use their combined expertise to create a tangible impact on the recovery of a SARA listed species, that might not otherwise be possible.

Project partners include Parks Canada, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Fort Folly First Nation, the Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association, Cooke Aquaculture, the New Brunswick Department of Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries, and the Huntsman Marine Science Centre.

Associated research through the Canadian Rivers Institute / University of New Brunswick will evaluate the broader ecosystem effects of having wild salmon once again depositing marine nutrients and spawning in the river system.

 We envision this innovative collaboration producing an unprecedented number of wild inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic salmon that can be released back to their native spawning grounds within the next few years of this project.