A new report by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans says Canada's aquaculture industry generates $2.1 billion each year and contributes thousands of jobs in coastal and rural communities.

The fish farming report, released Friday by DFO, provides estimates on the industry's economic prowess and says aquaculture production more than quadrupled between 1990 and 2006.

Of the $2.1 billion that was generated for the Canadian economy in 2007, more than $960 million came from B.C. while New Brunswick contributed about $415 million.

Ruth Salmon with the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance says the study proves fish farming is providing sustainable long term-employment in areas of the country that would otherwise be economically challenged.

Fish farms have been a hot-button issue in B.C. in recent years, and earlier this week federal justice officials laid charges against aquaculture giant Marine Harvest for unlawful possession of wild fish.

Chief Bob Chamberlin with the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs says he keeps hearing how the aquaculture industry is the new lifeblood of employment in remote communities, when he believes fish farming is to blame for the collapse of commercial fisheries in those communities.