Everyone today is trying to claim that their Seafood is "Sustainable"... but what does that really mean? It depends who you ask. If you go into Metro or Loblaws (grocery store) all of their seafood is all of a sudden sustainable, but according to who?
As consumers it is important to understand that their are different certifying organizations that will give a fishery the stamp of sustainable practices. One of the top, and toughest approvals, that a fishery can get is from Oceanwise (Vancouver Aquarium). Oceanwise's recommendations are based on 4 criteria:
- Abundant and resilient to fishing pressures.
- Well managed with a comprehensive management plan based on current research.
- Harvested in a method that ensures limited bycatch on non-target and endangered species.
- Harvested in ways that limit damage to marine or aquatic habitats and negative interactions with other species.
These are all very key elements to consider when considering sustainability. Organizations such as Oceanwise, Seachoice or Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) have very strict rules and practices for fisheries working towards certification. Destructive fishing techniques such as long line fishing, bottom trawls or over-fishing have all contributed to the poor state that the oceans and fish populations are in today.
Purchasing seafood products today, with the following labels on them ,will help ensure that you are supporting sustainable practices and allowing for a healthy ocean tomorrow.