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 $1.01 billion in 2020 – up 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. In 2020, exports of lobster fell due to the wide-reaching impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is expected to be temporary as the global economy recovers.
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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 over the last few years, the exchange rate has also aided higher exports. Lobster landings have averaged about 45 thousand tonnes per year from 2014 to 2019. Between 2010 and 2013 they only averaged about 40 thousand metric tonnes.
Several other fishery products also enjoyed growth between 2012 and 2020. Crab exports increased from $134 million to $237million; shrimp exports increased from $83 million to $150 million; scallops increased from $98 million to $145 million; clam exports have jumped from no exports in 2016 to $79 million in 2020 and halibut exports grew from $25 million to more than $101 million.
Seafood Export Markets
The United States remains the dominant market for Nova Scotia seafood exports. In 2020, it accounted for about 46.9 per cent – $94 billion in exports. The fastest growth market for Nova Scotia’s seafood exports is Asia, where sales to countries like China ($576 million in 2020) and its special administrative region Hong Kong ($28 million), South Korea ($73 million), Japan ($54 million) and Vietnam ($19 million) have grown at a faster rate than sales to the US market over the last six years. Seafood exports to China increased from $83 million in 2012 to $576 million in 2020 (down from 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic) and now account for 29% of total seafood exports. Exports to European Union countries totaled $235 million in 2020 from $133 in 2012. However, growth is slower there than in the US and Asian markets. The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union reduced tariffs on seafood which could have a positive impact moving forward.
Agriculture exports totaled $373 million in 2020 up from $228 million in 2012. They accounted for about 15.7 per cent of total food exports from Nova Scotia in 2020. Agriculture exports did not experience the same decline in 2020 as seafood did. The major products exported are frozen blueberries, other berries, apples, grains, and trees/plants.
About 46 per cent of Nova Scotia’s agriculture exports went to the United States in 2020, with most remaining exports destined for European and Asian markets. Most of the growth in recent years is in exports to the US and China markets.
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.