Survey of the Aquaculture Industry

Detailed information for 2004





Record number:


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.

Data release - October 19, 2005


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.

Statistical activity

The survey is administered as part of the Unified Enterprise Survey program (UES). The UES program has been designed to integrate, gradually over time, the approximately 200 separate business surveys into a single master survey program. The UES aims at collecting more industry and product detail at the provincial level than was previously possible while avoiding overlap between different survey questionnaires. The redesigned business survey questionnaires have a consistent look, structure and content. The unified 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.

Collection period: February to July


  • 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) 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 Unified Enterprise Survey (UES) Program incorporates several annual 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.

The questionnaire was tested using focus groups along with field tests on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.


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 2004, the frame included 654 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 2004 was 157 establishments.

Data sources

Responding to this survey is mandatory.

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

Two sources of data are used to derive the estimates:

- a probability sample survey of aquaculture establishments with a gross business revenue greater than or equal to a cut-off that varied by province from $30,000 to $850,000.
- taxation data are used to estimate for businesses with a gross business revenue less than the cut-off.

Questionnaires are mailed to establishments selected in the early months of each year. Respondents are asked to report information for their 12-month fiscal period for which the final day occurs on or between January 1 and March 31 inclusively. Separate English and French questionnaires are used in data collection.

In addition to the mail-out / mail-back questionnaire approach, the survey was also conducted using Computer Assisted Telephone Interviews (CATI) for data collection, capture, edit and follow-up.

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 which 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.

Revisions and seasonal adjustment

An adjustment is made to calendarize the fiscal year information.

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%).

Using these ratings at the national level, the 2004 estimates are judged to be excellent, and at the provincial level, the estimates range from excellent to good. The estimates for New Brunswick and British Columbia, accounting for 84% of total operating revenue of aquaculture, are judged to be excellent.

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.

For 2004, the response rates of the 157 sampled establishments receiving a questionnaire are: Completed: 68%; Refusal: 2%; Non-response (non-response by survey deadline, unable to locate): 17%; Out-of-scope (inactive, out of business, out-of-scope): 13%. These response rates are considered normal for a business survey. The out-of-scope rate reflects the quality of the Business Register at the time of sampling. Of the original sample, 19% required imputation to complete the estimates. Reasons for imputation include partial response, failure to respond before the survey deadline, refusals, and inability to contact the respondent.

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