Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
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Aquaculture in Atlantic Canada

Protecting the Aquaculture Industry: Aquatic Animal Health Programs

Canada, including the four Atlantic provinces, is at the forefront of new international standards for aquatic animal health, based on the highest level of independent scientific verification.

In order to enhance Canada's reputation as a global leader in the production and export of sustainable, high quality fish and seafood products, the Government of Canada has invested over $60 million in the past five years toward the establishment of the National Aquatic Animal Health Program (NAAHP). The program aims to facilitate trade in aquatic animals and products across borders while protecting aquatic resources from potentially harmful diseases.

The NAAHP is designed to protect the health of Canadian aquatic animals and the fishing, recreational and aquaculture industries that depend on these animals. The NAAHP includes a strong monitoring and surveillance program that meets or exceeds international trade standards and is a co-operative effort among federal and provincial governments, industry and academia.

In addition to the trade-related federal commitment, the four Atlantic provinces have invested tens of millions of dollars over the past decade to support aquatic animal health activities across the region. These include efforts to facilitate intra- and inter-jurisdictional movement of aquatic animals, the development of aquatic health and research centres in each province, the implementation of support mechanisms for wild and farmed aquatic animal health management, as well as major investments in infrastructure to support aquatic animal health and biosecurity activities for the aquatic food industries.

The NAAHP and the provincial aquatic health programs place Canada's aquatic animal inspection and certification regime on a par with the system for terrestrial animals and second to none in the world. This provides strong assurances to our trade partners and the public at large that the health of our aquatic resources is well managed.

A scientist looks at a collection of beakers

Benefits of the National and Regional Aquatic Health Programs:

  • protect aquatic animals from the harmful effects of infectious diseases;
  • provide support in health management options for the sector;
  • allow access to the best and healthiest seed stocks;
  • permit the export of superior Canadian aquatic products (food and gametes) globally;
  • ensure a reliable supply of wholesome marine food products for global consumers;
  • encourage investment in farmed seafood production;
  • protect all aquatic industries, such as fishing and aquaculture, that contribute to the socio-economic well-being of the region;
  • ensure that Canada's marine food products meet international trade standards; and
  • protect and expand export markets while boosting local economies and promoting a better quality of life.

Atlantic Canada's aquaculture industry enjoys a wide network of support firms and government services in aquatic animal health – from industry suppliers to expert consultants to world-class R&D facilities.

A scientist injects an oyster with a needle
Photo Credit: Cyr Couturier, MUN Marine Institute

If you would like more information on this sector, please contact:

Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
P.O. Box 6051
Moncton, New Brunswick

Phone: 1-506-851-2271
Toll-free: 1-800-561-7862 (Canada and United States)
Fax: 1-506-851-7403


Map of Eastern Canada and USA, highlighting Atlantic Canada

ACOA logo and the Symbol of the Government of Canada

Catalogue number: AC5-18/2011E ISBN: 978-1-100-19608-4 ACOA: 2011-12