The North American Fur Auction wrapped up its week-long sale in Toronto and set an important benchmark for the coming year. The auction is the first of several international auctions.

With prices generally up 10 to 25 per cent over last year’s prices, this is good news for Nova Scotia mink farms.

Last year was a difficult year for the industry because prices fell to below production costs, resulting in $20 million of stabilization funding from the provincial and federal governments.

Of the 96 producers located in Nova Scotia, 93 applied for funding.

The auction prices are an encouraging sign for the local mink industry.

“It gives some hope to some folks who were a little concerned they may not be in business a year from now,” said mink farmer Dan Mullen.

At the auction, more than 3 million pelts were sold.

The other big story was just who was buying those furs.

“Right now, China has had such massive consumption of furs, buying 95 per cent of the skins that were on auction this week,” said Mullen.

Mullen hopes demand from China will stay strong.