WWF-Canada Blog:

Wanted: Sustainable Seafood

By Stephanie Morgan, Communications Intern

If you’re like me, you know that there are serious issues with the way we acquire our seafood. You want to be a part of the solution by buying sustainable seafood, but you’re a bit confused as to what’s what. WWF was curious to find out just how many people out there are struggling with this issue. That’s why we conducted an online poll exploring Canadian attitudes toward and knowledge of sustainable seafood. The majority of people that participated felt sustainable seafood was important for protecting the future of the world’s oceans and fish stocks.

It is encouraging to know that people are aware of the importance of healthy oceans. After all, over 1 billion people rely on oceans for protein. However, two-thirds of the world’s fish stocks are fully exploited, over-exploited, depleted or recovering at a slow rate. In other words, it’s not looking good. As you may know, sustainable seafood comes from well-managed sources that allow fish populations to grow and thrive, even while being used for food.

Some interesting findings of the poll include:

  • 63% have heard of the term “sustainable seafood”
  • 11% buy sustainable seafood every time or almost every time they shop; 21% do so at least once a month
  • 65% look to retailers and producers for information about where seafood comes from; 33% look to government or government agencies; 24% to environmental non-profit organizations
  • Canadians don’t buy sustainable seafood mainly because it’s not available (72%) and/or because they aren’t sure that what is being sold as sustainable is actually produced sustainably (also 72%)

There is clearly a lot of work to be done, but it is exciting to see that Canadians are eager to get involved and support sustainable seafood. For now, try to get informed – for example, the leading independent certification system for sustainable seafood is the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). That is a good label to keep an eye out for. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your local grocer where the seafood you’re buying comes from. We have the right to know, so we can start making a difference!

  • Brittany says:

    Here is the link if anyone else would like to check it out.


  • Brittany says:

    Hey Steph,
    Great article. In Vancouver many of the restuarunts are following a program called Ocean Wise. Ocean Wise is a Vancouver Aquarium conservation program created to educate and empower consumers about the issues surrounding sustainable seafood. Ocean Wise works directly with restaurants, markets, food services and suppliers ensuring that they have the most current scientific information regarding seafood and helping them make ocean-friendly buying decisions. The options are highlighted on their menus and display cases with the Ocean Wise symbol, making it easier for consumers to make environmentally friendly seafood choices. The Ocean Wise logo next to a menu or seafood item is an assurance that the item is a good choice for keeping ocean life healthy and abundant for generations to come.

  • Sara Falconer says:

    Hi Brenda,

    Thanks for your question – we’re looking into it and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

  • It pays to be informed says:

    I currently don’t purchase seafood due to unsustainable fishing practices and I have also boycott the Canadian fishing industry because of the inhumane seal hunt that took place last month. If fishing practices were taken seriously then maybe I would reconsider. It’s such a shame because I love sea food but in my mind, animals and sustainable practices come first.

    Remember – shop locally, buy locally. Support your local farmers markets and think about switching to cage-free/ free-range, hormone free products!

  • Brenda Maisey says:

    In my freezer right now: Presidents Choice Crabcakes & Our Compliments Wild Haddock Fillets(product of China)?
    Doesn’t say where the crab comes from, also the Haddock is probably Atlantic & processed on a Chinese ship – have no idea if either is being over-fished?

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