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 increased to $952 million in 2016 from $375 million in 2012. This is the result of strong demand for lobster, a weaker Canadian dollar, improved lobster prices, and increased landings over the last three years. 

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 increased to $7-8 per pound in 2015-2016.  With the Canadian and US dollars near parity in 2012, and in the 75-78 cent range in 2015-2016, the exchange rate has also aided higher exports. Lobster landings increased in 2014 and 2015 by 10 thousand metric tonnes to average about 50 thousand tonnes. Between 2010 and 2013 they only averaged about 40 thousand metric tonnes.

Other fishery products also enjoyed growth between 2012 and 2016. Crab exports increased by $92 million to $225 million from $133 million; scallops increased by $43 million to $141 million from $98 million; and shrimp and halibut also saw strong increases.

Seafood Export Markets
The US remains the dominant market for Nova Scotia seafood exports. In 2016, it accounted for about 55 per cent or $1 billion in exports.  The fastest growth market for Nova Scotia’s seafood exports is Southeast Asia, where sales to countries like China ($254 million in 2016) and its special administrative region Hong Kong ($83 million), South Korea ($65 million), and Vietnam ($53 million) have grown at a faster rate than sales to the US market over the last four years.  Seafood exports to European Union countries increased to $204 million in 2016 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 $300 million in 2016 and accounted for about 15 per cent of total food exports from Nova Scotia.  They increased by about $74 million between 2012 and 2016.  The major products exported are blueberries – which at $79 million in 2016 account for the largest proportion -- other berries, apples, breads/pastries, and trees/plants. 

The US accounts for about two-thirds of Nova Scotia agriculture exports, 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 does 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 Report of the Nova Scotia Commission on Building our New Economy 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.