Canada gets a sample of what’s to come… and it tastes like tilapia!
By Bob Rangeley, Vice President conservation and Atlantic region
Starting today, Canadian seafood lovers will have a new, better choice in their frozen seafood department. Loblaw announced that stores across the country will now offer Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certified tilapia—a meaningful milestone in Loblaw’s commitment to source 100 percent sustainable seafood.
In August 2012, seafood farms in Indonesia were the first to have their production of farmed tilapia certified under the new ASC standard for responsibly farmed tilapia. Today, Canada joins countries including Germany, Spain, France, and Sweden in offering this new product to consumers. More tilapia farms in Honduras, Taiwan, Ecuador and Malaysia have all formally announced that they will be audited; and provided there is a positive outcome, the supply of certified ASC products will substantially increase—which is good news for our oceans and our hungry planet.
Almost half of the seafood we eat comes from farms. And seafood farming—also known as aquaculture—is the fastest growing food production system in the world. The rapid expansion of the aquaculture industry has not come without impacts. As a conservation organization, WWF is concerned about the negative effects the industry has had—and could continue to have—on the environment and society.
With wild fisheries fished largely to their maximum capacity, or even beyond, most additional demand for seafood will need to come from farmed sources. If managed responsibly, the aquaculture industry can be part of the solution to feeding nine billion people by 2050. WWF sees great potential in working with this growing industry to raise seafood with minimal impact on people and natural ecosystems, satisfying a growing demand for seafood and at the same time taking pressure off wild fisheries.
Certified tilapia on shelves is really just the beginning—the first result of a much larger scope of work. WWF is currently working across the globe with farmers, retailers, non-profits, scientists and others in the seafood industry to develop responsible aquaculture standards for 12 farmed seafood species—including basa (pangasius),shrimp and Atlantic salmon.
Getting these more responsible products into the market and the hands (and plates) of consumers isn’t simple, but today’s announcement is a clear sign of progress. In fact it’s worthy of a toast! Now, to find the best wine pairing for tilapia…a happy problem.
Find out more about the need for responsible aquaculture and ASC: