B.C. salmon farmers had record sales in 2016

Free trade agreement opens up new market in South Korea

Fish farms like this one employ 5,000 people, according to the BC Salmon Farmers Association.

B.C. salmon farmers had record sales and a 40% increase in exports to Asia in 2016.

Exports of farmed B.C. salmon were valued at $754 million in 2016, according to the BC Salmon Farmers Association. That’s a $210 million increase over 2015 sale of $544 million

The U.S. remains the biggest market for farmed salmon, but exports to Asia have increased 40%, year-over-year. The biggest Asian markets are in China and Japan. But thanks to the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement, South Korea is now a new market for B.C. farmed salmon.

Salmon farmers sold 82,000 kilograms of salmon to South Korea in 2016. There were no exports to South Korea in 2015.

“The value of B.C. farm-raised salmon has never been higher,” BC Salmon Farmers Association executive director Jeremy Dunn said in a news release.

The increased profits are being invested back in the industry, Dunn said, with investments going into new hatcheries, processing plants and new technology.

According to the BC Salmon Farmers Association, the industry in B.C. is worth $1.1 billion and employs 5,000 people, many of them First Nations.

nbennett@biv.com