Lobster is Canada’s most valuable seafood export and an iconic Canadian species exported around the world. Canadian lobster landings remain at one of the highest levels recorded in 100 years, with an upward trend over recent decades. The majority (78%) of Canadian lobster exports are destined for the United States. Other key markets include Asia (Japan and China) and the European Union (Belgium, France). Lobster is also exported to an additional 50 countries.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada manages 45 lobster fisheries, in which 10,000 licensed harvesters across Atlantic Canada and Quebec participate. Lobsters are caught using baited traps placed on the bottom of the sea. Overall, lobster populations in Canada are healthy and sustainably managed.
Snow crab, also referred to as Queen crab, are found in the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans. In the North Atlantic, they are found from Greenland in the northeast Atlantic and from southern Labrador to the Gulf of Maine in the northwest Atlantic. They prefer deep, cold-water conditions. Canada is the world’s largest producer of Snow crab, accounting for about two-thirds of the global supply. In 2011, almost 73 percent of all snow crab exports from Canada were destined for the United States. China and Japan are also major markets.
Atlantic halibut are distributed widely throughout the northern Atlantic. In the northwestern Atlantic, populations are found from the coast of Virginia to as far north as the Arctic Circle. Significant numbers swim off the coasts of Greenland, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and Nova Scotia. In the northeast, Atlantic halibut range from the Bay of Biscay to Spitsbergen and the Barents Sea. Atlantic halibut are fished commercially.
Sea or Giant Scallops are bivalve molluscs and are one of Canada’s most important commercial shellfish species. The scallop is possibly best known for its beautiful and distinctive circular-shaped shell that can reach up to 20 cm in size.
This fishery is managed in six geographical zones called Scallop Fishing Areas, which range from the St. Pierre Bank off the south coast of Newfoundland to Georges Bank off the southern coast of Nova Scotia. Primary export markets for Sea Scallops are the United States and France.
The Eastern Canada Sea Scallop (offshore) populations are healthy and sustainably managed. Current biomass levels are above their long-term medians and annual fishing quotas are in line with science advice to maintain the future health of the population.