Ecological and Economic Impact Assessment of Sablefish Aquaculture in British Columbia

Principal Investigators

Ussif Rashid Sumaila
John Volpe (University of Alberta)


Yajie Liu


Canadian Sablefish Association

Research Project Description

To explore the potential costs and benefits of introducing sablefish farming in BC.

A. Ecological Issues:

  • Profile and characterization of disease / parasite issues and likelihood for wild-farm-wild transfers
  • Potential impacts of escapees on wild stock genetic structure
  • Foreign ecological footprint of sablefish aquaculture in terms of reliance on fishmeal
  • Local ecological footprint of sablefish aquaculture in terms of organic / inorganic wastes, therapeutants
    with particular reference to site locations and life-history specific impacts
  • Future stability of wild stocks and commercial harvest
  • Ecological lessons from salmon aquaculture in B.C.

B. Economic Issues:

  • Evaluating, in economic terms the potential ecological effects of aquaculture (disease, escapes, and fishmeal)
  • Addressing the supply, demand and price effects of sablefish farming
  • Analyzing the potential economic impacts of fish price declines on fishers due to sablefish aquaculture
  • Contrasting the net social benefit of aquaculture to the private profits to private fish farmers
  • Taking into account the income distributional effects of sablefish farming
  • Economic lessons from salmon aquaculture in B.C.


  • Ecological and economic impact assesstment of sablefish aquaculture in British Columbia (full report available here)

Project Duration

May to November, 2004

Funding Source

Canadian Sablefish Association