What Natural Resources Does Prince Edward Island (PEI) Have in Abundance?

what natural resources does prince edward island have in Canada

Prince Edward Island (PEI) may be the smallest province in Canada by population and land area, but it is rich in natural resources!

Renowned for its beautiful beaches, nutrient-dense red soil and prosperous agricultural / seafood sector, natural resources contribute significantly to the quality of life enjoyed by Canadians living in PEI.

Additionally, the island province is a leader in renewables with wind power accounting for ~99 per cent of its power generation. When combined with biofuels, the two renewable energy sources accounted for 31 per cent of PEI’s end-use fuel demand in 2019.

But wait, we’d like to share more great facts showing you what natural resources PEI has in abundance, so let’s get to it! Also see:

Fisheries & Aquaculture in PEI

PEI's seafood sector employs more than 8,000 people across the province

Quick Facts

> More than 8,000 people are employed by PEI’s seafood sector.

> The seafood industry generated $938 million in economic activity for PEI’s economy and $262 million in other provinces for a total economic impact of $1.2 billion across Canada in 2019.

> The industry brought in 38,933,466 lbs of lobster, 28,122,657 lbs of mussels, 7,612,323 lbs of oysters, and 3,243,340 lbs of mackerel in 2019.

> 72 per cent of PEI lobster exports were sent to the United States in 2019.

> 77 per cent of PEI’s aquaculture-related output was from mussel farming in 2019.

Coastal jurisdictions typically have thriving seafood/aquaculture sectors, and Prince Edward Island is no exception to that general rule.

PEI’s fisheries and aquaculture sector is a vital segment of its economy. The industry generates hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity both provincially and nationally.

Nationally: the sector contributed $1.23 billion in output, $495 million in GDP, $214 million in wages, $32 million in taxes, and 4,849 jobs in 2019.

Provincially: the sector contributes $938 million in output, $377 million in GDP, $151 million in wages, $21 million in taxes, and 3,708 jobs in 2019.

PEI is home to approximately 4,231 commercial fishers and 45 licensed processing facilities. In 2020, they were able to harvest more than 95.2 million pounds (lbs) of fish with a market value of more than $248 million.

Additionally, there are approximately 1,468 mussel, oyster, and clam leases along PEI’s coast. In 2019, the hard-working men and women of PEI were able to bring in 86,319,960 lbs of molluscs and crustaceans, valued at over $231 million.

As you can see, PEI’s seafood sector generates economic prosper not only in PEI, but also across Canada! This highlights the importance of supporting all our nation's natural resources sectors.

Farming & Agriculture in PEI

PEI is home to 594,324 acres of farmland, accounting for 42.5 per cent of the province's land surface area

Quick Facts

> With a population of nearly 160,000 in 2016, PEI was home to 1,353 farms engaged in growing crops and raising livestock.

> Farmlands represent 42.5 per cent of all land on PEI.

> PEI potatoes made up 62.6 per cent of total crop receipts in 2020.

> PEI leads Canada in potato farming with 23.2 per cent of national production of 2021.

> In 2020, farm cash receipts totalled roughly $606 million in PEI, an increase of 9.3 per cent over 2019.

Canada’s prairie provinces are recognized as some of the most productive farming regions globally. However, not many people know that the Atlantic provinces, including Prince Edward Island, also contribute their fair share to our country’s agricultural output.

Prince Edward Island has a total surface area of roughly 1.4 million acres, with farms accounting for 42.5 per cent of that land at just over 594,000 acres. The island has a strong connection to agriculture throughout its history, especially potato production.

Potato crops were first introduced to PEI in 1758, and its first potato exports were in 1827. Today, PEI is still Canada’s potato leader, holding the largest share of production amongst the provinces with 23.2 per cent in 2019. In 2021, potato receipts totalled $236.5 million for PEI farmers.

PEI also grows heaps of other crops. In 2019, the island province had 176,300 acres seeded with barley, oats, wheat, canola, corn and soybeans. Receipts for total grains valued at $46.7 million in 2021, an increase of 18.7 per cent year-over-year.

PEI produces a diverse range of fruits such as blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, grapes, and apples. Vegetables too, including carrots, cabbage, cauliflowers, onion, tomatoes and cucumber. In 2019, carrots were the largest field vegetable and total production was just over 14,300 tons. 

Livestock also contributes to PEI’s agricultural output. In 2021, the cattle industry generated $31.9 million in economic activity with dairy receipts totalling $95.7 million. Although PEI is known for its potato production, the province brings much more to the table (and to our plates) than many think!

Renewable Energy in PEI

PEI's seafood sector generates $1.2 billion in economic activity for Canada

Quick Facts

> Eight wind farms produce approximately 204 Megawatts of electricity in PEI.

> 21,625 households across the province are powered by electricity from these wind farms.

> 99 per cent of power generation on PEI comes from the province's wind farms.

> The turbines located within the East Point Wind Farm have a height to the hub of 81 metres, the equivalent size of a 26-storey building.

> PEI plans to continue building out its wind power capacity for a more sustainable energy future.

Canadians may be surprised to know that Prince Edward Island is also a leader in renewable energy generation. The Island, much like the rest of Canada, is a leader in energy innovation and is committed to continuing its work toward a more sustainable future.

Over 25 per cent of PEI’s electrical demand is met by wind power. Additionally, about 99 per cent of PEI’s power generation is from eight wind farms which include: Aeolous Wind, Eastern Kings Wind Farm, Hermanville/Clear Springs Wind Farm, North Cape Wind Farm, Summerside Wind Farm, West Cape Wind Park, WEICan Wind R&D Park.

PEI has an estimated 204 MW of installed wind capacity as of 2019. However, PEI is a net importer of electricity, most of the electricity consumed in PEI is imported from the neighbouring province of New Brunswick which generates most of its electricity from nuclear, oil and gas, coal, and hydroelectricity.

PEI’s energy strategy highlights wind power as playing an important role in the island’s sustainable energy portfolio today and in the future.

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