Aquaculture & Farming in Prince Edward Island: 21 Facts & Statistics

Farming and aquaculture in Prince Edward Island facts - cover

Did you know that Canada’s smallest province, the island of Prince Edward Island, is an absolute aquaculture and farming powerhouse for its size? Home to thousands of farms and fishing vessels, Prince Edward Islanders produce a wide diversity of agricultural and seafood products ranging from fruits and vegetables to grains and livestock.

Covering approximately 42.5 per cent of the island’s total land surface area, agriculture is more than just a business on PEI; it’s a way of life that shapes the community, economy, and environment. The fishing industry is no different, as it remains important to the island’s economy and employs thousands of locals.

Below are several facts about aquaculture and farming in Prince Edward Island that you probably don’t know! Also see:

Prince Edward Island Agriculture & Aquaculture: 21 Facts

#1 - Of 1.4 million acres of total land area, farms account for approximately 42.5% of PEI’s surface area – at 594,324 acres [1]

#2 - PEI was home to 1,353 census farms primarily engaged in growing crops and livestock in 2016, of which ranged in size from a few to more than 3,000 acres, with an average size of 425 acres [1]

#3 - PEI had 85,500 acres of land devoted to potato production in 2019, harvesting a total of 25.2 million hundredweight (Cwt) that year – equivalent to more than 1.28 million tonnes [1]

#4 - Most of PEI’s potato production is exported to other Canadian provinces or abroad; PEI’s potato exports were valued at $406 million in 2019 [1]

#5 - Potatoes are a mainstay of the agricultural industry in Prince Edward Island; it was first introduced to the island province in 1758, and the first export shipment was made in 1827 [1]

#6 - PEI had 176,300 acres of farmland with barley, wheat, canola, oats, corn, and soybean crops in 2019 [1]

#7 - Apart from potatoes and grains, PEI produces a full spectrum of fruits including strawberries, cranberries, blueberries, apples, and grapes [1]

#8 - PEI had approximately 12,500 acres of farmland devoted to blueberry farming in 2020 [1]

#9 - PEI has an active honey bee sector, which supplied more than 4,450 colonies for crop pollination to the island’s fruit farmers in 2019 [1]

#10 - PEI also grows a variety of vegetable crops including carrots, onions, tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflowers, and cucumbers [1]

#11 - Carrots are PEI’s largest field vegetable crop, planted on 819 acres which produced more than 14,300 tons in 2019 [1]

#12 - PEI is home to 47 Certified Organic farm producers, home to approximately 11,700 acres of farmland

#13 - PEI was home to 61,000 cattle in 2019, 13,900 of which were dairy cows and 6,300 dairy heifers

#14 - PEI dairy farmers sold 116.6 million litres of milk in 2019, which came from 166 farms province-wide

#15 - PEI was home to 19 commercial hog operations in 2020

#16 - PEI was home to several chicken producers at various stages of the supply chain; in 2019, the province produced 3.86 million dozen eggs worth $6.25 million

#17 - PEI’s seafood industry adds nearly $1 billion to the island’s economy every year, in addition to another $262 million in other provinces, for a combined impact of roughly $1.2 billion annually [3]

#18 - PEI fishers produced 45 million pounds of mussels in 2019 [3]

#19 - 77% of aquaculture production in PEI is accounted for by mussel farming [3]

#20 - PEI fishers produced more than 10 million pounds of oysters in 2019 [3]

#21 - PEI fishers harvested more than 42 million pounds of lobster in 2019, of which 72% are bound for the United States [3]

Sustainable Farming in Prince Edward Island

The PEI government is steadfast in its commitment to ensuring the agriculture and aquaculture sectors adhere to best practices with respect to sustainability and the environment. Several policies and programs support four main areas of sustainability, including [4]:

  • Economic sustainability
  • Organizational sustainability
  • Social sustainability
  • Environmental sustainability

Learn more about PEI’s sustainable agriculture and aquaculture initiatives today.

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