Canadian Sustainable Fish

New research in a benchmark study by WWF Canada has found that 91% of Canadians feel it’s important that fish and other seafood on sale in Canada come from sustainable and not overfished stock. Over two thirds (68%) of Canadians feel that it’s very important that fish and seafood come from sustainable stock. However, only 8% feel they have adequate information about where the fish and fish products on sale are sourced. So I recently spoke with Deb Trefts, Sustainable Seafood Specialist, WWF Canada.

It’s not as easy to find sustainable fish as WWF would like, Deb told me. “The Marine Stewardship Council is the organization that we think has by far the most credibly certified seafood in the world.” And the program has and continues to expand. “Ten years ago it was next to impossible to find credibly certified seafood and responsibly managed fisheries in many cases. And that has changed dramatically over the years, especially in the last 5 years.”

seafood and fishWWF Canada works closely with Loblaw, and the retailer is “completely transforming their purchasing operations so one day in the not too distant future consumers will be able to come in and know that all the seafood they purchase is sustainably certified. They want to take the guesswork out of it” so when consumers purchase seafood they can trust that Loblaw will supply them with responsibly managed and fished seafood.

When consumers can enter a store and know that when they’re shopping they’re doing the right thing, and don’t have to question the label, it “will make a big difference for shoppers, and other retailers will take note,” Deb continued.

WWF has been “instrumental in establishing the Marine Stewardship Council”, the “International Seafood Sustainability Foundation for canned tuna” and “for the aquaculture side, the Aquaculture Dialogues and Aquaculture Stewardship Council. Each of these three organizations is really founded on the concept of sustainable, of credible certification. So there’s independent third party verification according to rigorous standards.”

“Each of these organizations are part of WWF’s big umbrella plan to really bring back fisheries and oceans and […] to minimize the footprint of aquaculture.” WWF Canada looks at sustainable seafood broadly, with the certifications being responsible management. They think that “all certified fisheries should contribute to reversing the decline of fish stocks. So the stocks they fish from should be healthy. That they deliver improvement to the marine ecosystem. […] WWF Canada’s goal is healthy oceans.”

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Alison Wheatley

Alison Wheatley

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