Nova Scotia's economy was once heavily based on resources, beginning with fishing on the Scotian Shelf. The catch is composed mainly of cod, haddock and pollock, as well as lobsters, scallops and crab.
Fish, particularly cod, has been hit by dwindling stocks, causing the 1992 loss of approximately 20 000 jobs in fishing and fish processing. Nova Scotia also has a highly developed forestry sector with four pulp and paper mills and several hundred sawmills.
The mining sector is dominated by coal production (four million tonnes) and gypsum (5.3 million tonnes, and 85 percent of Canada's total). Other mines extract salt, barite, crushed stone, peat and sand and gravel. Offshore oil and gas exploration has grown in the past decades, and in 1991 the first commercial production of oil began near Sable Island.
Nova Scotia has a highly specialized commercial agriculture sector. Dairy is the largest sector, followed by horticultural crops, poultry, eggs, beef cattle and hogs. Export commodities include blueberries, apples and processed fruits, vegetables and juices.
Tourism is an important sector in the provincial economy. More than a million visitors bring in $800 million and provide over 30,000 jobs. Almost one quarter of these visitors come from outside Canada.