Figure 1. GDP% contributed by each sector of the B.C. fishery industry (B.C. Oceans and Marine Fisheries Branch, 2007).
The fishery industry of B.C. is a complex industry, as it’s composed of numerous sectors and subdivisions. The industry is composed of four sectors which are, commercial fishing, aquaculture, sport fishing and seafood processing (B.C. Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, 2007). Firstly, Commercial fishing is the capture of marine species from their environment (BC Stats, 2007). This is a form of direct resource extraction. Secondly, aquaculture is the cultivation of marine species by humans . Fish farmers alter the species' nature by providing them with food, shelter and protection (BC Stats, 2007). Seafood processing is a value-added process to species in their original form (BC Stats, 2007). Finally, sport fishing is the fishing done by those in the pursuit of leisure and/or recreation (BC Stats, 2007).
B.C. Fishery industry is important in a number of ways. The most obvious is that it provides economic benefits to the British Columbian and Canadian governments as a whole. It is as well the fourth largest primary industry within British Columbia (B.C. Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, 2007). According to BC Stats (2007), aquaculture is the largest sector to the provincial fishery industry. It is followed by sport fishing, seafood processing and commercial fishing, respectively (BC Stats, 2007). Aquaculture is the largest sector due to technological advancements that allow it to be more efficiently operated by the cultivators and such advancements also have a positive impact on the seafood processing sector (BC Stats, 2007). On the contrary, the commercial fishing sector has suffered a drop because of the fact that the government limits the number of fishing licenses (BC Stats, 2007). The decline of certain fish stocks also contributed to this decline (BC Stats, 2007).
The B.C. fishery contributes greatly to the province's and country's economics. Fish and other aquatic goods not only circulate within the country, but they are also exported internationally. For instance, B.C.'s fishery exports account for more than 50% of the total revenues earned by the industry (BC Stats, 2007). According to BC Stats (2007), the United States is the primary importer of fish and aquatic goods, followed by Japan and European Union, respectively. In fact, the selling price of exports is twice as much as that of imported seafood products (BC Stats, 2007). This implies that the fishery sector is positively benefiting B.C. and Canada. Moreover, the industry created more than 15,500 jobs in 2005 (BC Stats, 2007), and these jobs amount to be about 0.7% of the total employment of B.C. The sectors that hold the most jobs are the sport fishing and seafood processing sectors as they are service-based and value-added divisions (BC Stats, 2007). This fact may not be so surprising due to the fact that the world's economy is built mostly upon service and/or value-added industries (vs. more primary, secondary industries and resource extraction).