Goal 15

Fisheries and Agriculture Exports - Deep Dive

The value of exports from the fisheries (including aquaculture) and the agricultural sectors will each have doubled on a sustainable basis.


Fisheries and Agriculture Exports data summary graphic

NS Seafood Exports
Fishery exports have been the major growth driver for Nova Scotia food exports over the last few years.  Most growth is driven by the lobster industry.  Lobster exports totaled to $950 million in 2017 – an increase of $576 million from $374 million in 2012. This is the result of strong demand for lobster, a weaker Canadian dollar, improved lobster prices, and increased landings since 2014.

Data graph showing lobster exports growth

Lobster prices, which have improved compared to 2012, may be the biggest factor behind the increased export growth. Prices averaged about $4.50 per pound in 2012 and 2013 and reached $7-8 per pound in in recent years.  With the Canadian and US dollars near parity in 2012, and in the 75-80 cent range in 2016-2017, the exchange rate has also aided higher exports. Lobster landings increased by 10 thousand metric tonnes in 2014 and have averaged about 50 thousand tonnes per year from 2014 to 2016. Between 2010 and 2013 they only averaged about 40 thousand metric tonnes.

Other fishery products also enjoyed growth between 2012 and 2017. Crab exports increased by $180 million to $314 million from $134 million; scallops increased by $45 million to $144 million from $98 million; and shrimp and halibut also saw strong increases.

Seafood Export Markets
The United States remains the dominant market for Nova Scotia seafood exports. In 2017, it accounted for about 50 per cent – just under $1 billion in exports.  The fastest growth market for Nova Scotia’s seafood exports is Asia, where sales to countries like China ($389 million in 2017) and its special administrative region Hong Kong ($106 million), South Korea ($80 million), and Japan ($80 million) have grown at a faster rate than sales to the US market over the last four years.  Seafood exports to China alone more than doubled in 2017 compared to the year prior.  Exports to European Union countries increased to $208 million in 2017 from $133 in 2012. However, growth is slower here than in the US and Asian markets.  The new Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union will reduce tariffs on seafood which could have a positive impact moving forward.

Agriculture Exports

Agriculture exports totaled $286 million in 2017 and accounted for about 12.5 per cent of total food exports from Nova Scotia.  They increased by about $56 million between 2012 and 2017.  The major products exported are frozen blueberries – which at $74 million in 2017 account for the largest proportion -- other berries, apples, breads/pastries, and trees/plants.

About 60 per cent of Nova Scotia’s agriculture exports went to the United States in 2016, with most remaining exports destined for European and Asian markets. Most of the growth in recent years is in exports to the US market.

Note: Due to differences in source data, the data for both seafood and agriculture exports differ slightly from the data reported by the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture. It should also be noted that Statistics Canada’s export data do not count Nova Scotia’s mink production as an international export and thus, it is not included in this data set.

Changes to the indicator, baseline, or target:

  • The baseline number from the OneNS report was corrected for error.
  • The target was adjusted to double the revised baseline.
  • Contextual numbers were removed from the statement of the goal. This was done to keep the goal consistent in case of future historical revisions to the data.