Posted by Lana Brandt on Aug 16, 2016

The Big Carrot’s Sustainable Seafood Commitment

Guest blog by Maureen Kirkpatrick, The Big Carrot

Big Carrot“Do you carry sustainable seafood?” is the most impactful question you can ask your grocer or chef when it comes to protecting our ocean resources according to Seafood Watch…at The Big Carrot, you don’t even need to ask. Here’s why…

5 things you may not know about our Sustainable Seafood Commitment:

1.    We do not carry any red ranked seafood

2.    Our seafood only comes in two colours: green and yellow

3.    Our commitment extends from fresh fillets to frozen fish sticks

4.    Our tinned tuna is the tops

5.    Transparency and reporting is key to our progress

The Big Carrot has a long-standing commitment to offering the most environmentally sustainable seafood choices available in the market. Central to our commitment is our partnership with SeaChoice, dating back to 2010. SeaChoice is Canada’s most comprehensive sustainable seafood program offering viable solutions for healthy oceans to both businesses and shoppers. This partnership supports our ability to maintain complete and transparent information about our seafood products.

Understanding the traffic light and why we always STOP at red!

SeaChoice uses the green, yellow and red colour system to help make it easy for Canadians to make responsible seafood choices. SeaChoice works in close collaboration with the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s acclaimed Seafood Watch program and undertakes science-based seafood assessments. Many factors are considered before a ranking is determined including the fishery, habitat, species and management. 

Green means:

Buy first, this seafood is well-managed, abundant, and caught or farmed in environmentally sustainable ways.       

Yellow means:

Buy, but be aware there are conservation concerns with the current populations or practices in this fishery.

Red means “Avoid”

Don’t buy, they’re overfished or caught or farmed in ways that harm other marine life or the environment. 

At The Big Carrot, our Sustainable Seafood Commitment offers our customers peace of mind – knowing that all of our fresh, frozen seafood and tinned salmon and tuna fall under the “Yellow”and “Green” SeaChoice rankings. We do not carry any seafood ranked as “Avoid” by SeaChoice.

With over 75 per cent of the world’s fisheries either fully fished or overfished our conscious consumption of seafood is critical. Together, at The Big Carrot we are making an impact by choosing green and yellow ranked seafood. From our annual SeaChoice Report, which reviewed The Big Carrot’s 2015 procurement and sales, here’s how we are doing as compared to the Canadian seafood market at large.

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2015 marked an expansion of our formal Sustainable Seafood commitment to include our tinned seafood. Extending our commitment into the center aisles of the grocery store is meaningful when you consider that much of the tuna on Canadian supermarket shelves is still caught by destructive methods.

Here is how the tins stack up:

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Every year, Greenpeace ranks 14 of the largest tuna companies in Canada and you will be happy to see that our tuna brands Raincoast Trading and Wild Planet ranked in the top two positions respectively.

Kurtis Hayne of SeaChoice summarized our efforts in the Annual Report as follows: “The Big Carrot’s Sustainable Seafood Policy to sell only green or yellow-ranked fresh, frozen, and canned seafood for 2015 has been a huge success. This commitment and its successful execution to only source sustainable seafood is a great feat, and places The Big Carrot among a unique tier of SeaChoice retailer partners.” This report provides us with not only a clear snapshot of what we have achieved to date but also the ability to envision where we can do more. In the coming year our goal is to move, where possible, from yellow-ranked to green-ranked species, and add some new green-ranked species.

As with any sustainability initiative, we cannot do it without our most active partner~ our shoppers. We know you want to make your food dollars count and we want to make that as simple and straightforward as possible by providing you excellent options and the information you need to make meaningful choices.