Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Low Fish Farm Job Numbers in BC and NL - In-ocean Makes No Sense

From an email I sent to the people on the Atlantic Coast trying to get fish farms out of the water:

As I have said before, the job numbers – what the industry is sold to governments on – are inflated.

In BC, the BC Stats report has the most reliable numbers.  They start with Stats Can figures and then refine them. Their caveat section of the report details why they make the changes they do – this is what makes the report better than any other estimates. This report actually has DFO’s name on it but they never ever refer to it.

DFO and industry usually say multiplier jobs are 6,000 in BC (this means in-industry and spin off jobs), although they use different figures at different times. The BC Stats report is 1700, that means the BC job number is only 28% of what DFO and fish farms would like us to believe, or stated the other way, DFO’s number is inflated more than 350% higher than the BC number.

I went out and found, with links to the figures, that the actual number of jobs were, and are, only 820, or, only 13.7% of the DFO estimate (DFO does not refer to actual job numbers, only multiplier ones, so the comparison has to be made with the figure they do release). Stated the other way around, DFO’s number is more than 730% higher than the actual figure.

And as a contribution to BC GDP, all of aquaculture is a measly $61.9M, while the fishing sectors, commercial, sport and processing are more than 1000% higher, and exceeds $600M.

Here is a link to the BC Stats’ summary table, that also gives you the link to the PDF of the actual report: In addition, this post also notes a week’s worth of my work to figure out the total take from sport fishing in BC, salt and fresh, along with areas of the province that do not drain into the Pacific, as in the entire figure. It is $2.52B, DFO’s figure is $1B. DFO’s figure is only 40% of my figure, and I trust my figure more than DFO’s (In the past, I worked in Treasury Board Staff in BC, and heavy duty number crunching was a daily task. That’s why I trust my figures more than DFOs. I worked in the part of government that said to all departments, during the budgetary process, “You can’t have the money.”)

From this you can make rough estimates of NL or any other province, if you wish. And with a little work you can find out the actual job numbers. Don’t believe DFO.

The figures that Bill quotes for NL, a provincial number, show the same thing as BC Stats: the fish farm industry is small, economically. For example, the 2016 number of 424 jobs is only, get this, 2.4% of the entire sector’s 17,472 jobs. And these numbers do not include fresh/saltwater sport fishing. So, why is the govt willing to destroy the environment for such a small potatoes return?

Sorry to go on so long.


Now, the email that came in to me that prompted my lengthy reply:

Subject: The real cost benefit analysis

Dearest Auditor General Office;

Given that the open net pen aquaculture industry and government like to inflate the numbers, and that many fish were processed outside on NL, perhaps we can ask you, the AG, to get us the actual numbers. One minute they say 1,000s....then 424. But it generally only takes 3-4 people per site to monitor and feed the fish. The hatcheries have a tiny skeleton crew (3 small hatcheries), the dive crews are less than 12 people total, the feed is shipped in bulk many months supply at a time, etc. Moreover, with licences pre-approved by government for Grieg that will DOUBLE the number of fish per lease site this will HALVE the jobs. Norway has about 200,000 fish per site (780mt), while this recent increase in NL with see 2 MILLION fish per site (3,300mt) based on numbers from Price-Waterhouse Coopers and the Grieg EA document.

Finally, a NL vs NOrway comparison is in order for license fees . $100 MILLION NOK per 780mt standard lease site in Norway and $1140 CAD in NL (again using the respective governments own numbers).

The real "tell" is when comparing similar sized sites in the UK and Norway with jobs numbers for NL. Ours simply must be inflated.

Total employment (direct and spin-off) generated
by the aquaculture industry was approximately
1,000 person years in 2016. Employment in 2017 is
anticipated to remain relatively stable compared to

Harvesting (Wild Fisheries)
Processing (Aquaculture and Wild Fisheries)
The number of workers employed in the aquaculture sector decreased 3.4 per cent to 424 workers.
year’s Seafood Industry Year in Review. This document is intended to provide a comprehensive, yet easy-to-reference overview of our wild and farmed fisheries in ...

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