The commercial fishing and aquaculture industry in Canada is a source of direct employment to approximately 80,000 people. In 2015, the fish and seafood imports in Canada accounted for $3.5 billion, resulting in a significant annual trade surplus. In 2008, most of the imported fish in Canada came from the United States followed by Thailand, China, Chile, and Vietnam. Freshwater fish species imported into Canada in large quantities include catfish, tilapia, trout, salmon, and carp.
Catfish is the leading freshwater fish species imported into Canada accounting for 25.5 million pounds. Catfish belong to a group of fish with ray-like fins. There are over 3,000 species of catfish that can be found on all continents apart from Antarctica. Most catfish species live in freshwater ecosystems such as streams and rivers while others are adapted to living in caves and salt waters and some species such as the Mekong catfish are critically endangered. Catfish is among the popular types of fish used in fish farming, and their meat is eaten worldwide as a delicacy.
Tilapia is the second leading freshwater fish species imported into Canada accounting for 16.64 million pounds. Tilapia is the common name given to a type of fish species belonging to the Cichlidae family, which are represented by many species native to Africa that are mostly found in freshwater. Tilapia is popular because they have high potential as they mature fast for harvesting, readily available diet and resistant to diseases are among the commercial benefits of tilapia farming. Together with high consumer demand, tilapia is ranked number three as the most important fish in aquaculture.
Trout is the third leading freshwater fish species imported into Canada accounting for 11.91 million pounds. The trout fish mostly live in freshwater habitats and are closely related to salmon. Trout are mainly classified under two genera which include the Oncorhynchus genus which comprises of several trout species as well as salmon and the Salvelinus genus which consists of several trout species which may be as regards as chars. Trout are a primary source of food for both humans and wild animals.
Salmonidae is the fourth leading freshwater fish species imported into Canada accounting for 1.94 million pounds. Salmonidae is a family of ray-finned fish, including chars, graylings, salmons, whitefishes, and trout which are also the most intensively studied and popular family breed of fish. Salmonidae is born in freshwater but later migrate to the sea or ocean only to come back to freshwater for purposes of reproduction. Salmonidae is famous for its sporting qualities and highly consumed for their exquisite taste thus giving them a degree of economic importance to the countries doing commercial fishing of Salmonidae.
Carp is the fifth leading freshwater fish species exported by Canada accounting for 0.95 million pounds. Carp are greenish-brown fish from the Cyprinidae family with two barbels on each side of its upper jaw. Despite the fish being native to Asia, it was introduced to other parts of the world, including, North America, Europe among other regions. Carp tend to exist in small schools or live in solitude mostly in quiet or weedy ponds, rivers, and lakes that are mud-bottomed. Carp fish are considered undesirable due to their odd behavior of stirring up mud when searching for food which adversely affects a lot of aquatic plant and animal species.