Annual Survey of the Aquaculture Industry (AQUA)

Detailed information for 2023





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.


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.

Establishments classified to aquaculture.

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 2021, the frame included 848 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 these establishments are sent a questionnaire.

The "take-none" stratum contains the establishments with gross business revenue less than a cut-off. Take-none strata serve to reduce respondent burden by excluding the smaller businesses from the surveyed population. These businesses should represent at most ten percent of total sales. Instead of sending questionnaires to these businesses, the estimates will be produced using administrative 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 2022 was 145 establishments.

Data sources

Data collection for this reference period: 2024-04-26 to 2024-08-29

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) .

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