What will the future demand for aquaculture be? RETURN
In the year 2000, the world's population exceeded 6 billion people, representing a 20% increase in less than a decade. During this period, the harvest of fish protein from the oceans has remained at its present capacity of about 85 million metric tonnes. In 2000, nearly 30% of all fish and seafood consumed globally was produced through aquaculture. By the year 2005, even the most conservative forecasters suggest that the aquaculture industry will account for 35% or more of the total world supply of seafood in terms of tonnage, and control approximately 50% of the economic value of edible fish protein. Many countries in the world utilize fish for 50% or more of their dietary source of animal protein. However, most North Americans, Latin Americans and Europeans consume only about 8-12 % of their animal protein from fish. In North America in particular, the demographic profile of the population is changing rapidly due to the influx of people with high fish consumption patterns who have emigrated primarily to the larger urban centres. All this means that the total demand for aquaculture products will rise -- both regionally and globally -- due to both an increasing population as well as higher per capita consumption of fish. This will be particularly true in the industrialized nations of the world. In addition, the predicted decline in the wild harvest of fish will require an expansion of aquaculture production to fill the void.
How has aquaculture development progressed in Canada and where is it going? RETURN
In 1980, the Canadian aquaculture represented a small cottage industry that was perceived by most people as being one with little future for large scale development. In less than twenty years however, the private sector built an industry now worth almost 700 million dollars to the national economy, and has produced nearly 5,000 new jobs (as of 2000) for Canadian workers. Canadians farm Atlantic and Pacific salmon as well as rainbow trout, mussels, oysters and several species of marine algae. At the present time, the industry is concentrated on both coasts of Canada, primarily British Columbia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, as well as in Ontario. In Ontario we have specialized in the production of rainbow trout. It is expected that by 2010, the Canadian aquaculture sector could generate more than $6.2 billion in revenues ($2,570 million, farm gate value) and produce over 12,000 jobs in the production and service areas. No other sector of agriculture is likely to experience this type of growth.
Aquaculture Development in Ontario RETURN
By Rich Moccia

In Ontario, fish culture -or aquaculture- has been practised since the turn of the century by the provincial government, primarily for lake and stream stocking, as well as the rehabilitation of natural fish populations. Aquaculture remained exclusively a government endeavour until 1962, when enabling legislation through the provincial Game and Fish Act finally permitted the private sector to own, grow and sell rainbow trout, brook trout, smallmouth and largemouth bass. In 1997, further legislative changes expanded the list of potential species for culture to nearly 40. These now include most endemic game-fish, crayfish, baitfish and tilapia. For more information on legislative requirements see also, UG Factsheet.

Since the early 1960's, the commercial aquaculture industry has grown to produce over 4000 tonnes of rainbow trout annually, and this species accounts for over 95% of the production output from the private sector in Ontario. This is primarily a result of the legislative restrictions on the species which can legally be farmed, coupled with well established culture techniques, availability of domesticated stocks, high quality commercial feeds, and a recognized demand for trout. In addition to trout, there is also small-scale, but expanding culture of Arctic charr, tilapia, perch, walleye, and several species of baitfish in Ontario. For a more detailed overview of aquaculture production in Ontario, see also, UG factsheet.

In the long-term, the Ontario aquaculture industry will likely expand and diversify its production base, farming several new species, and surviving by combining the commodity production of some fish (like trout) along with the niche-market production of value-added products and other, alternate species. For a more detailed look at sustainability issues in Ontario's aquaculture sector, see also, UG factsheet.

Finally, Ontario aquaculture is a highly diverse and complex form of livestock production which encompasses everything from water management to marketing. For a general overview of the requirements for aquaculture in Ontario, see also, UG factsheet.
How many fish are produced in Ontario? RETURN
It is estimated that 4,000 metric tonnes of rainbow trout were produced in 2000. More detailed statistics may be found in the factsheet 'Aquastats'.
What species of fish are produced in Ontario? RETURN
Rainbow trout is the predominant, and most economically important, fish species cultured in the province. There is also some limited production of Arctic charr, Tilapia, Yellow Perch, Speckled trout, Walleye, Bass, baitfish and Sturgeon.
What is the economic value of the provincial aquaculture industry? RETURN
The economic value of the Ontario aquaculture industry was estimated at $65 Million in 2002.
How many fish farms are there in Ontario? RETURN
2000 statistics revealed over 200 private-sector fish production facilities in Ontario. A more detailed breakdown of fish farm size and production may be found in the Aquastats factsheets.
Do I need a licence to raise fish in Ontario? RETURN
If you are raising or stocking fish for sale, you usually require a licence. If you stock fish in a private pond that has no out flow, is not on a flood plain and you do not intend to sell fish, a licence may not be required. Other licences may also be required before a farmer can legally grow fish in Ontario. A detailed description of the legislation and regulations affecting aquaculture may be found in the factsheet 'Aquaculture Legislation' .
What training or educational opportunities are available for aquaculture at the University of Guelph? RETURN
Several different types of aquaculture training programs are available from the University of Guelph. See also under the following categories.

  • Masters of Science Degree in Aquaculture
  • Workshops for Farmers
  • How will the ingredients of feed effect aquaculture? RETURN
    by Gregor Reid

    At the present time, feed for salmonids (eg. trout, charr, salmon) contains high levels of fish meal. Other cultured fish such as tilapia, catfish and carp, can grow and feed without fish meal in their diet. Typically, about 35 to 55% of a salmonid diet consists of protein. In an average salmonid feed, 60% of that protein is likely to be fish meal. Since there is increasing pressure on the worlds wild-harvest fisheries, many are questioning the logic and sustainability of continuing to harvest fish to feed other carnivorous fish. In addition, fish feed is typically the biggest variable production cost for farmers, and the price of fish meal is on the rise. Understandably, finding a practical protein alternative for expensive fish meal has been a top priority for researchers.

    But there is hope! To date, researchers have been able to experimentally replace a large proportion of dietary fish meal at a reasonable cost, while still obtaining optimal growth rates. The next challenge is to replace fishmeal completely, in a way that maintains production efficiency, while promoting economic and environmental sustainability.

    In the mean time, fishmeal remains the primary 'protein' component of salmonid fish feed. Like all businesses, aquaculture is not immune to the economics of supply and demand. For now, fishmeal is an exceptionally high quality protein supplied at a price that is still viable for feed companies and fish farmers. But as wild fish stocks dwindle and fishing subsidies wane, fish meal replacement will become more of an imperative than ever before. It is difficult to predict when and how this transition will occur; what market fluctuations will result; and what role consumers will play. However, as a result of recent research developments and a commitment by the industry to find a suitable replacement, it is likely that the transition will occur within the next decade.
    Can I raise warm water species in Ontario? RETURN
    by Gregor Reid

    It is true that tilapia, a warm water fish species not native to Canada, is being farm-raised and sold in Ontario. In these instances, producers have employed economical methods to heat water and retain heat in re-circulation systems, making the physical environment conducive for optimal growth. But there's much more to it than just the technical feasibility. There is a special niche market willing to pay a premium for live tilapia, and to date, we can be competitive with foreign imports from the United States. Preferred genetic stock in Ontario, and a short distance to market, help make Ontario-raised tilapia a value-added product. It is this demand for live tilapia, coupled with the reasonable costs of production with modern-day recirculation systems, that enables this warm water species to be cultured here and sold in a manner that is economically viable.

    Although it is technically possible to raise other warm-water species such as catfish and shrimp in Ontario, turning a profit would be an unlikely outcome. Most of these species are sold fresh or frozen in the North American market, and the product comes from culture systems in naturally occurring warm water regions south of our border, or from the wild fisheries. Therefore, these warm-water species can be delivered from any distance and at a substantially cheaper price than it would cost to produce them locally in the province. If you know of a good market for warm water fish in Ontario, it may make more sense to become a broker or distributor of those species, and import them from other regions of North America.
    University of Guelph
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    Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1