WWF-Canada Blog:
Oceans


Canada’s largest seafood retailer to carry ASC-certified Atlantic salmon

Close on the heels of last week’s successful National Sustainable Seafood Day event in Ottawa and only a few days before the world-renowned Seafood Expo North America (formerly Boston Seafood Show) begins, Loblaw supermarkets announced that they’ll be carrying responsibly-sourced farmed Atlantic salmon from Norway that’s been certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC).

This announcement makes Loblaw the first grocery retailer in North America to offer the sought-after fish, accompanying ASC-certified tilapia and over 130 Marine Stewardship Council-certified seafood items on its growing menu of sustainable choices.

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Atlantic salmon aquaculture (Salmo salar), east coast of Canada. © Gilbert Van Ryckevorsel / WWF-Canada

Currently, ASC-approved Atlantic salmon is only sold in Japan and Europe.

Thanks to the momentum created by industry leaders like Loblaw, the standard is catching on. Over 300 ASC-certified tilapia products have become available around the world since they first hit the market in 2012, and similar growth is predicted for certified salmon. In fact, since the first salmon farm became ASC-certified in January, ASC has already announced that more salmon farms are attaining certification which means better access to fish from responsible and well-managed sources.

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Since first hitting the market in 2012, more than 300 ASC-certified tilapia products have become available around the world.  © Loblaw Companies Limited.

Over 300 ASC-certified tilapia products have become available around the world since they first hit the market in 2012, and similar growth is predicted for certified salmon.

This is impacting Canada as well. Word is already out that three salmon farms in Canada are aiming to reach ASC certification by 2020.

WWF believes that ASC is the best of the best when it comes to certifying aquaculture (or ‘fish farms’, if you prefer), because the standards help address both social and environmental concerns, in all types of farms, such as open (net pen) and closed containment systems.

Among other things, this means that ASC-certified farms have stringent waste management standards, take extensive precautions to stop the transfer of disease to wild populations, use feed and other resources responsibly, and ensure workers’ health and safety is protected. And while closed containment salmon farming is part of the aquaculture sustainability puzzle, it is still absolutely essential to continue to improve standards for all types of fish farming.

As we’ve noted elsewhere, close to 88% of Loblaw’s seafood product sales come from sustainable sources or those making meaningful progress towards sustainability. And as the largest seller of seafood in Canada, this has a huge impact ‘on the water’.

This is amazing news for Canadian seafood lovers concerned about the potential impacts of fisheries and fish farms, and a big step forward in Loblaw’s ongoing commitment to source 100 per cent sustainable seafood.