Asians show appetite for BC salmon

Logistical advantages have been cited as a key reason why a number of Asian markets, including Taiwan and South Korea, are developing a taste for BC-raised salmon.


Recently released data from Stats Canada (January to May 2016) shows exports of farm-raised salmon to key Asian markets are setting new records, with exports to many markets in the first 5 months of the year already greater than in the whole of last year.

“Boosting BC exports to Asia is a point of pride for communities and First Nations that work in and support the salmon farm industry,” said Jeremy Dunn, Executive Director for the BC Salmon Farmers Association in a media release.

“We recently hosted 30 international buyers at the BC Seafood Festival in June, so it’s great to see our sustainable, healthy product on more plates in Asia,” he added.

Rapidly growing markets for BC farm-raised salmon include Taiwan and South Korea.

“Overall our sales to Asia are doing very well, thanks in part to excellent quality and BC's strategic location, which allows us to get fresh salmon to market in half the time than any other major salmon producing country,” said Nick DiCarlo, Sales Manager for Cermaq Canada. “There is a strong global demand for salmon and we can boost BC’s exports further if provided the opportunity to carefully grow the industry.”

Exports to Japan are set to double in 2016, with farmers already reaching 97% of the total export volume for 2015; exports to Taiwan for 2016 have already exceeded the 2015 total; and exports to South Korea are up 10-fold compared to 2015, with over 29,000 kg exported so far this year.

The United States has historically been the sector's primary export market and remains so, although China is now BC’s second most important market.

“As a global producer we have the advantage of having our own sales team living in the region and this, along with excellent air logistics, has helped us to quickly reach the right customers,” said Dave Mergle, Managing Director for Ocean Quality North America. “Our customers really like farmed salmon from British Columbia and we see much future growth ahead.”

Salmon farming has a total economic impact of $1.1 billion in BC and accounts for more than 5,000 total jobs.