Annual Survey of the Aquaculture Industry (AQUA)

Detailed information for 2013





Record number:


The Annual Survey of the Aquaculture Industry collects the financial and operating data needed to develop national and regional economic policies and programs.

Data release - November 14, 2014


The Survey of the Aquaculture Industry is designed to provide economic variables that result in the aquaculture value added account, which measures the economic production (value added) of goods and services from aquaculture establishments.

Aquaculture is the managed production of fish. In Canada, the industry is dominated by the production of finfish, primarily salmon off the coasts of British Columbia and New Brunswick. Production of shellfish is smaller with Prince Edward Island and British Columbia being the major producing provinces.

These data are used by aquaculture industry analysts and producers as they make production and marketing decisions and by government analysts or special interest groups to monitor the industry or develop policies related to aquaculture in Canada. The data are used in the Canadian System of National Accounts to develop provincial and national level accounts. As of reference year 2009, this survey is conducted for Fisheries and Oceans Canada, on a cost recovery basis.

Statistical activity

The survey is administered as part of the Integrated Business Statistics Program (IBSP). The IBSP has been designed to integrate approximately 200 separate business surveys into a single master survey program. The IBSP aims at collecting industry and product detail at the provincial level while minimizing overlap between different survey questionnaires. The redesigned business survey questionnaires have a consistent look, structure, and content.

The integrated approach makes reporting easier for firms operating in different industries because they can provide similar information for each branch operation. This way they avoid having to respond to questionnaires that differ for each industry in terms of format, wording and even concepts. The combined results produce more coherent and accurate statistics on the economy.


  • Agriculture and food (formerly Agriculture)
  • Business performance and ownership
  • Financial statements and performance
  • Livestock and aquaculture

Data sources and methodology

Target population

The target population is all establishments classified to aquaculture under the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS 2012) code 112510 that operated for at least one day during the reference year.

This industry comprises establishments primarily engaged in farm-raising finfish, shellfish, or any other kind of aquatic animal. These establishments use some form of intervention in the rearing process to enhance production, such as keeping animals in captivity, regular stocking and feeding of animals, and protecting them from predators.

The aquaculture industry includes hatcheries and sales within the industry, for example, sales from a hatchery to a grow-out operation are included. The aquaculture industry does not include sport fishing and the wild fishery.

Instrument design

The IBSP incorporates business surveys into a single framework, using questionnaires with a consistent look, structure and content.

The questionnaire satisfies the statistical requirements for financial information as expressed by the Canadian System of National Accounts and businesses and associations operating within the aquaculture industry.


This is a sample survey with a cross-sectional design.

The frame that is used for the selection of the probability sample is Statistics Canada's Business Register. This list frame is updated and verified prior to sample selection. For 2013, the frame included 563 establishments classified to aquaculture.

Before a sample is taken, the records are stratified by province. Within each province, to improve the efficiency of the sample design, strata are defined using the gross revenue variable on the Business Register.

The "must-take" stratum contains the enterprises (with all its associated establishments) with revenue greater than or equal to $25,000,000. All of these establishments are sent a questionnaire.

The "take-none" stratum contains the establishments with gross business revenue less than the cut-off. Data for these businesses are obtained from taxation data.

For the establishments not selected in the "must-take" (greater than $25,000,000) or "take none" (less than the cut-off), three strata are defined to improve the efficiency of the sample design. There is a "take-all" stratum (all establishments are sent a questionnaire) and there are two "take-some" strata (a sample of establishments are selected and sent a questionnaire).

The overall sample size for 2013 was 122 establishments.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 2014-05-05 to 2014-08-29

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

Data are collected directly from survey respondents and extracted from administrative files.

The survey is collected primarily through an electronic questionnaire while providing respondents with an option to receive a paper questionnaire, reply by telephone interview or use other electronic reported methods.

View the Questionnaire(s) and reporting guide(s) .

Error detection

The data are examined for inconsistencies and errors using automated edits coupled with an analytical review. Every effort was made to minimize the non-sampling error of omission, duplication, reporting and processing.


Several checks are performed on the collected data to verify internal consistency and identify extreme values. Where information is missing, imputation is performed using either a "nearest neighbour" procedure (donor imputation), using historical data when available or finally, using administrative data as a proxy for reported data.


The general estimation system is used to provide estimates for the entire observed population.

In addition, the sampling weights derived from the sample survey are modified and improved using updated information. This was possible because, during the passage of time since the sample was selected, the Business Register was updated further with more complete information. The final set of weights reflects as closely as possible the changing characteristics of the population of this industry.

Gross value added at factor cost is residually derived by subtracting product inputs, or purchases from other businesses, from the gross output of the sector.

Quality evaluation

The aquaculture estimates were compared to and found to be consistent with administrative data sources obtained from the provinces, reinforcing confidence in the quality of the aquaculture statistics. All of the data were reviewed for accuracy and consistency and are viewed as providing a reliable portrait of the aquaculture industry.

Disclosure control

Statistics Canada is prohibited by law from releasing any information it collects that could identify any person, business, or organization, unless consent has been given by the respondent or as permitted by the Statistics Act. Various confidentiality rules are applied to all data that are released or published to prevent the publication or disclosure of any information deemed confidential. If necessary, data are suppressed to prevent direct or residual disclosure of identifiable data.

In order to prevent any data disclosure, confidentiality analysis is done using the Statistics Canada Generalized Disclosure Control System (G-Confid). G-Confid is used for primary suppression (direct disclosure) as well as for secondary suppression (residual disclosure). Direct disclosure occurs when the value in a tabulation cell is composed of or dominated by few enterprises while residual disclosure occurs when confidential information can be derived indirectly by piecing together information from different sources or data series.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

This methodology does not apply to this survey.

Data accuracy

All surveys are subject to sampling and non-sampling errors. Statistics Canada uses a variety of methods to minimize all types of errors. Measures of sampling error along with other indicators of quality are provided.

The coefficients of variation (CV), a measure of sampling error, are computed. The quality of the estimates are classified as Excellent (CV is 0.01 to 4.99%); Very good (CV is 5.00% to 9.99%); Good (CV is 10.00% to 14.99%); Acceptable (CV is 15.00% to 24.99%); Use with caution (CV is 25.00% to 34.99%); and Unreliable (35.00%).

Every effort is made to minimize the non-sampling error of omission, duplication, reporting and processing. When necessary, some records are imputed using information from tax files where possible.

Of the sampled units contributing to the estimate the weighted response rate was 99.1%.

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