Last updated on February 9, 2023

Aquaculture contributes significantly to B.C.'s economy.  With its mild climate, good water quality and sheltered bays, the province's coastline is well suited to all forms of aquaculture.

Three main groups currently cultured are:

  • Finfish (including salmon)
  • Shellfish
  • Aquatic plants

Aquaculture in Canada is a shared responsibility. Fisheries and Oceans Canada works closely with other federal government departments, the provinces and territories, and the aquaculture industry to support sustainability in Canada’s farmed fish and shellfish sectors.

Finfish aquaculture technical briefing

Licensing requirements for aquaculture

Provincial role

The provincial government's role in aquaculture includes:

  • Licensing aquatic plant cultivation and issuing tenures where aquaculture operations take place on Crown land
  • Protecting the provincial public interest in sustainable aquaculture development

Federal role - finfish and shellfish regulation

The federal government is responsible for regulating the finfish and shellfish aquaculture industries in B.C.

Fish health

Maintaining healthy stock is essential to sustainable and profitable farming. Aquaculture businesses are required to prepare and submit annual fish health reports to the Province of B.C.

RAS salmon farming in British Columbia

The report RAS Salmon Farming in British Columbia: Economic Analysis & Strategic Considerations was commissioned by the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture and Food in the fall of 2021. The report was initiated in a different policy context when it wasn’t yet understood whether the federal government was seeking to move all open-net pen salmon farms to land-based production within several years. As such, the report may be misaligned with the current policy direction of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the federal 2025 Open-Net Pen Transition Plan development, which is considering a broader range of technology options and implementation schemes.