VANCOUVER – Seafood Progress, a resource launched today by SeaChoice, Canada’s sustainable seafood watchdog, gives Canadian consumers information about retailers’ seafood sustainability commitments and how well they are performing against them. All major Canadian retailers have commitments to protect the world’s last wild food source, but each commitment is unique and can translate into a wide range of actions and seafood choices.
“Seafood Progress encourages retailers to uphold their sustainable seafood commitments and to do their part to make fisheries and aquaculture producers sustainable,” said Bill Wareham, SeaChoice representative and science projects manager for the David Suzuki Foundation.
Seafood Progress uses 22 performance indicators to assess the sustainable seafood commitments of Canada’s major retailers. It uses publicly available information and information disclosed by retailers. The average assessment scores show that, although most retailers have detailed policies and are collecting important information about the seafood they source, they can do a better job of making that information public and supporting improvements to fisheries and fish farms.
With barbecue season upon us, Seafood Progress provides an easy way for consumers to see which criteria their favourite retailer considers when sourcing seafood products, and therefore how they care for the environment through their sustainable seafood programs.
“This is the first snapshot of retailers’ performance on sustainable seafood across Canada, and we’ll be continuing our assessments yearly,” said SeaChoice national manager Sarah Foster. “We hope this encourages retailers to take extra sustainability steps to ensure seafood is available and oceans are healthy for generations to come.”
Some retailers are rising to the sustainability challenge by supporting improvements for specific products, like farmed Atlantic salmon and imported farmed shrimp, which can come with environmental and other concerns.
For example, Buy-Low Foods does not sell farmed Atlantic salmon because of environmental concerns and instead sources sustainably harvested wild salmon and better farmed alternatives such as steelhead trout. Save-On Foods recently announced that all of its farmed shrimp and prawn products are Ocean Wise recommended and certified as sustainable by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council.
“Delivering a sustainable seafood program is no small feat and retailers today need a comprehensive approach that accounts for the health of fish stocks, environmental impacts of fisheries, changes to aquaculture and a wealth of certification options,” said Jennifer Lambert, senior manager of sustainability at Loblaw. “Loblaws believes in providing customers with responsibly-sourced products they can trust as part of our purpose to help Canadians Live Life Well.”
Seafood Progress launched today in celebration of World Oceans Day on June 8. Our analysis demonstrates that while most Canadian retailers are on the right path, greater transparency and procurement that aligns with sustainable seafood commitments would ensure healthier oceans and improved food security for all.
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For more information, please contact:
Sarah Foster, SeaChoice, 604-916-9398, firstname.lastname@example.org
SeaChoice is a collaboration of three internationally recognized organizations — the David Suzuki Foundation, Ecology Action Centre and Living Oceans Society — that use their broad, national expertise to find solutions for healthy oceans. SeaChoice is a science-based, solutions-focused influencer, advocate and watchdog leading the next evolution of seafood sustainability in Canada. SeaChoice is a member organization of the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions, and works with consumers, retailers, suppliers, government and producers to accomplish its objectives.
- Seafood Progress landing page and retailer profile links
- Two page report of Seafood Progress findings from year 1
- More information about the methodology used to create Seafood Progress
- The Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions’ Common Vision for Sustainable Seafood
- Information on SeaChoice’s Priority Species, including shrimp and Atlantic salmon (farmed in BC and in Atlantic Canada)