This regional survey of the aquaculture sector in North America is part of the global survey currently being undertaken by the UNDP/FAO Aquaculture Development and Coordination Programme (ADCP). In this survey North America includes Canada, Greenland, and the United States of America (USA). Most information and data for the survey were obtained from the Fisheries Branch Library and the Fishery Statistics Service of FAO in Rome.
The main characteristics of the North American region include high standards of living and high gross national product (GNP) per caput, especially in Canada (US$ 14 100) and the USA (US$ 17 500). All three countries have huge land masses: Greenland is the largest island in the world, Canada is the second largest country, and the USA is the fourth. Each country has extensive coastlines and in Canada and the USA there are many freshwater areas.
Canada is the largest exporter of fish and fishery products in the world. Over 95% of the annual fish catch in Greenland is exported, and the majority of this is shrimp. The USA is traditionally the first or second largest importer (market) in the world for high quality fish and fishery products, especially luxury items such as marine shrimp, shellfish, tuna and salmon.
Production from aquaculture in Canada has been limited, although the country has considerable potential. The aquaculture industry has been developing in all regions of Canada; notably with salmon, rainbow trout and oysters in British Columbia; trout in the Prairie Provinces, Ontario and Quebec; and salmon, trout, mussels and oysters in the Maritime Provinces.
Greenland has no reported aquaculture production at present, or in past years. However, salmon culture in Greenland has been mentioned as a possibility, mainly to supplement natural stocks.
Although fish farming has taken place in the USA for a long time, only in recent years has production increased substantially. The USA is now the fifth leading aquaculture producer in the world. Production is based mainly on channel catfish, American cupped oyster and freshwater crawfish farming in the south and southeast; rainbow trout, pink salmon and Pacific cupped oyster farming in the north and northwest.