Thursday, 21 March 2019

Mar 21, 2019, BC Stats Report 2016, Updated June 25, 2019

The BC ministry of Agriculture has released the update of the 2012 BC Stats Report on the 'fishing sectors', as they like to say: British Columbia's Fisheries and Aquaculture Sector, 2016 Edition.

You need to know one thing: the 2016 edition cannot be compared with the 2012 edition directly because Statistics Canada changed its valuation year from 2002 dollars to 2007 dollars.

Got that? Good.

You need to know one other thing: GDP means gross domestic product, which is a way of valuing the value added by a step in business, for example, the wholesale price of fish sold to buyers who would then sell it to retailers, is composed of amounts for labour to process the raw fish, inputs, fuel and so on, minus the cost of the raw fish. Real GDP in this report means it used stats based on a particular year, which is a way to eliminate inflation from the value added by a step in production, over the years. The 2016 report used 'chained 2007' dollars. The report explains this, but you need a degree in economics to pick it up first time through.

Got that? Good.

My overall comments on the 2016 report (released in 2019, yes, I know, this is confusing) are:

1.     Commercial fishing - jobs have fallen dramatically since 1990, from 6,600 to 1600, or 75.8%. This is the result of DFO managing wild salmon into extinction and there being too many boats going after too few fish. After almost 20 years of falling, with the ‘90s the worst decade, the sector is starting to make a comeback, with salmon, herring and groundfish.
2.     Commercial sector - most of the income is not included in its table. See note:
Note: “An estimated $106.0 million in mixed income (earnings of unincorporated businesses) was attributable to activities in the fishing, hunting and trapping industry in 2016. Self-employed labour income accounted for $13.4 million of this total.”
Answer: in other words, the wages of the commercial sector dramatically underestimates this part of the fishing sector.
3.     Sport fishing – has most of the sector’s jobs, 9,000, as in 60% of the total. This is the same percent as in the 2012 report.
4.     Sport fishing - 500% more people work in sport fishing than in fish farms. We need wild salmon, and fish farms on land.
5.     Sport fishing - is the biggest sector and leads in all categories. Furthermore, its real GDP has increased every year for the last five years.
6.     Revenue – for the whole sector, has climbed dramatically since 2010, to $3,308.2M, or up 57%.
7.     Fish farms/aquaculture - jobs have fallen 5.3% since 2000. So, fish farms do not create jobs. Please note that fish farms comprise 90% of aquaculture figures.
8.     Fish farms - real GDP has fallen since 2010, some -2.8%. So, it has not grown its contribution to the economy. These two items mean that its communications spin, used since the 1970s, ‘that we bring jobs and revenue to down on their luck communities’ is not true. Instead, they take a lot of profit home to their shareholders in Norway, as their contribution to the BC economy, is small compared with the rest of the sector.
9.     Fish farms - while jobs have grown in fish farms 19.2% over 26 years (since 1990, rather than the 5.3% loss of jobs since 2000), their GDP has skyrocketed 657.1%, meaning there is big money made in fish farms by the Norwegian companies.
10.  Fish farms - similarly, revenue has skyrocketed 832.2%, meaning there is big money made by the Norwegian fish farm companies that use BC as a free, open sewer. The money they make, at $777.3M, is $582.9M more than their contribution to the BC real GDP of $194.4M. Revenue for fish farms is a huge $400% higher than their contribution to BC real GDP. This means Norwegian fish farms take out of BC a huge amount of money and take it home to Norway and their shareholders.
11.  Fish farms – actual job numbers are 825, or only 45.8% of the multiplier job number in this report of 1,800.
12.  Processing - revenue and employment mirrors the commercial sector pattern, which is understandable, however, its revenue increased dramatically in the 2016 report 302.9% from 2010.
13.  Processing - wages have been flatlined since 1990, almost 30 years. On the other hand, revenue has increased.
14.  Sport fishing – had a bad decade for employment in the ’90s. This was the same decade that the commercial industry suffered its greatest decline, largely due to falling salmon numbers.

Here is the summary table from the 2012 BC Stats report. I have put it in many posts on this site:
(Please excuse the three copies. The program will not allow me to take two copies away.)


Here is the summary table from the 2016 BC Stats report:

2016 Report (2007 Dollars, Millions)

Contribution to GDP, and %

% of Total
Wages and Salaries
% of Total
Total 2016 Revenue




Revenue % of Total

You can find the 2016 edition, released in 2019, British Columbia's Fisheries and Aquaculture Sector, 2016 Edition here:

Here is how I did the $2.52B calculation for sport, fresh- and salt-water combined:


And, update to May 23, 2019, an article on BC funding from March in the Times Colonist: For wild salmon habitat restoration.

And, update to June 25, 2019, a paper on the SI (sustainability indicators) of fish farms:

It covers the entire field of issues involved in fish farms. About all the jobs fish farms claim to bring to down on their luck communities, here is what the paper says: "DFO identified employment in aquaculture as a social SI, but has not developed an employment target. One possible reason may be that the potential for expanding direct employment in aquaculture is continually being undermined by technological improvements that enhance economic efficiencies but reduce the amount of labour needed for production. Between 2007 and 2016, overall Canadian aquaculture production increased 18% but direct employment in the sector dropped 32% [24]. Nowhere is the impact from improved technological efficiencies more evident than in Norway which grows almost ten times (1.33 million tonnes in 2014) more farmed salmon than Canada (134,000 mt) but does so with slightly more than twice the direct labour force (6,300 people) than that of Canada (3,205 people) [23,24]. In addition since the mid-2000s, increased and significant reliance on the Canadian government's Temporary Foreign Worker Program by aquaculture and wild fisheries seafood processing companies, many in high unemployment rural areas [58], also threatens to subvert DFO's
social sustainability goal of generating meaningful employment in rural, remote and coastal communities [22,54]."

So Norway produces ten times the salmon than Canada, but does so with only twice the number of employees. In other words, fish farms are not about employment. They only say this to get government going. It is part of their communications spin.

And, down on their luck communities shouldn't expect anything. They are suckered in, too, and find out the hard way: once you put a fish farm in the water, you can never ever get it back out. And out of country workforce gets the jobs, through this program: Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

Note that this paper refers one to DFO documents about employment that show a cumulative total of 3,205 jobs in references 23 and 24 for all of Canada. So, if DFO claims 7,000, just tell them their own figure is 3,205.