If you’re an importer, the weakening of the Canadian currency in relation to the US dollar, or perhaps more specifically, the rallying of the US dollar, is not good news.
But if you’re an exporter, that's cause for optimism. Such is the case with Canada’s seafood industry. Many of the major players in the industry have started this week off in Boston, attending the Seafood Expo North America. It’s the biggest seafood trade show in North America and if you’re a player in the industry it’s where you want to be. It brings buyers and sellers together and can lead to big deals.
And those deals are really important for the Canadian fishing industry, because some 85 per cent of the fish and seafood that Canadian fishermen harvest is exported, and the United States takes about 60 per cent of it.
As the US dollar gains strength, buyers can afford to pay a little more for Canadian seafood and realize as much profit without even increasing the price to their US consumers.
A little is not a lot, but it’s a start. As the economy south of the border improves the appetite for seafood will surely grow, and Canada is a ready supplier.
There is already speculation that improved lobster prices in Nova Scotia this winter will bode well for the Island lobster industry, which – if the ice leaves on time – will be underway in less than a month and a half. Hopefully that is the case, because the Island’s economy can certainly use an economic shot in the arm.
Even with potential new markets opening up in the European Union and Korea, once trade agreements are completed, the United States will always remain a prime destination for Canadian seafood. Of course, any product re-routed to new markets could serve to increase demand for it in the States.
As important as a rallying US dollar is to Canadian exports including seafood, supply and demand will always have a major influence on price. Supply has been strong in recent years. To keep the price up, companies and governments have to work hard at moving products into new markets so that the demand will stay high. It’s better to find new markets than to limit the supply, as handling the supply creates jobs for Canadians and greater prosperity for Canada.