Fishing and forestry are the traditional sources of employment and economic growth in the District. They remain vital.
A seminal 2014 study of, and blueprint for the province’s economic future identified seafood as holding untapped potential and vast opportunities and challenged the industry to double the value of exports, on a sustainable basis by 2024.
The District of Guysborough has a vibrant and lucrative inshore fishery. Lobster is the most important fishery in Nova Scotia and in the District.
The marine sport fishing industry has experienced a dramatic increase in popularity recently, partly as a result of multiple tuna tournaments that gained national and international attention. The Bluefin, a large tuna that comes close to shore makes the waters off Nova Scotia an excellent location for sport fishing.
Approximately 70 per cent of the 400,840 hectares of land which comprise Guysborough County is forested. A little more than half of the timber produced in the county is softwood, while the remainder is mixed wood and hardwood.
There are about 250 - 300 full-time forestry-related jobs in the area, in harvesting, trucking, road building, and silvaculture work. Guysborough County supplies approximately 30 per cent of the wood received by Nova Scotia's pulp and paper mills, or around 625,000 cubic meters per year.
In total, the Northeastern region of Nova Scotia produces roughly 50 per cent of the province's pulpwood, 41 per cent of its lumber, and 74 per cent of its whole tree chips.
Christmas Tree Farms are a common sight in Guysborough County, where the growing conditions are ideal and there are generations of skilled growers. The Christmas Tree business provides income for a multitude of people as farms require year-round attention. This includes shearing during the hot summer months, planting, fertilizing, cutting, grading, dragging, bailing and loading the trees on transport trucks.
There are 2,500 small to large Christmas tree growers in Nova Scotia harvesting 1.5 to 2 million Christmas trees annually, employing 400 people full time and 2,000 part time. Eighty percent of the trees harvested are exported to the United States. Annual sales are around $300 million providing a healthy income for many locals, and top quality Christmas trees to buyers.