SeaChoice-Social-ads-Nov-2015-BothBy Lana Brandt, SeaChoice National Manager

After many years of observing SeaChoice major retailers work towards achieving their sustainable seafood commitments, it brings me great pleasure to announce that Buy-Low Foods (BLF) and its corporately-owned locations, including Nesters Market, have successfully achieved their seafood commitment. In just two short years since publicly announcing that BLF would replace all red-listed “Avoid” seafood from their fresh and frozen departments with ocean-friendly alternatives, Buy-Low Foods can celebrate successfully achieving their robust seafood commitment.

The SeaChoice business team is proud of the Buy-Low Foods team for their efforts and ambition in replacing many high demand species such as farmed open net-pen salmon, Russian king crab and Atlantic cod with more responsible solutions. Buy-Low Foods has also been innovative in finding seafood solutions to challenging procurement issues to ensure they would achieve their sustainable seafood commitment by the end of 2015.

Seafood lovers should take note of BLF’s efforts in support of healthy oceans for today and tomorrow. Customers can now shop with ease, knowing that all fresh and frozen seafood has been sourced with care. Be sure to stop by and congratulate the staff for achieving their sustainable seafood commitment!

Posted by... lana on Nov 16, 2015

Seafood Waste – Are our efforts being wasted?

Guest Blog By Jenna Stoner, SeaChoice member from the Living Oceans SocietyGunnlaugson

Waste. Spoilage. Loss. Shrinkage. There are many names for food that is produced for human consumption but goes uneaten, but no matter what you call it it is all too common in the seafood supply chain.

A recent report from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Liveable Future found that 47 per cent of the edible U.S. seafood supply is wasted each year and most of that loss occurs at the end of the supply chain at either the retail or consumer level1.

Research out of Dalhousie University found that higher amount of loss occurred in fresh seafood supply chains, with levels of loss at the retail level ranging from ~1.5 per cent for scallops and halibut up to 26 per cent for whole fish and mussels2.

This research begs an important question about our collaborative work: What good is it to produce seafood sustainably if at the end of day it is simply thrown in the trash?

Together we could make significant economic and environmental gains by reducing seafood waste and we hope that you will work with us towards this goal.


    • Conduct a waste audit of your operation
    • Find means of redirecting seafood nearing its sell-by date:

a) Transfer it to the prepared foods department
b) Donate it to a local community kitchen
c) Freeze it
d) Hand out recipe cards at your seafood counter for customers that may be out of their comfort zone preparing seafood.

Want help implementing these recommendations?
Contact us at info @

1 Love, D. et al. (2015). Wasted seafood in the United States: Quantifying loss from production to consumption and moving toward solutions. Retrieved form
2 Stoner, J. (2013). Applying the Concept of Sustainable Consumption to Seafood: How Product Loss Through Post-Harvest Seafood Supply Chains Undermines Seafood Sustainability. Retrieved from

Posted by... lana on Nov 9, 2015

Manitoba’s lake fisheries need improving

For Immediate Release – November 9, 2015 (Vancouver, B.C. and Halifax, N.S.)

Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program released an assessment today recommending people avoid buying fish from Manitoba’s three largest fish producing lakes — Winnipeg, Manitoba and Winnipegosis.

Today’s assessment, carried out by the seafood program SeaChoice, scored these lake fisheries at a level comparable to some of the most poorly managed fisheries in the world. The fisheries fell short in areas such as understanding of stock sizes and catch rates, lack of catch limits for some species, inadequate data, poorly regulated bycatch, non-enforceable multi-species quotas and absence of harvest control rules. As a result, many fish stocks have collapsed or are severely depleted.

The assessment was prompted in 2012 by the prevalence of freshwater fish for sale without sustainability rankings. “We started out thinking these fisheries would be ranked on the higher end of the spectrum, but quickly became aware of the fisheries management challenges,” said Scott Wallace, senior research scientist with the David Suzuki Foundation and SeaChoice member.

Because of its large size, this is an important fishery for reform in Canada. The lakes make up about 80 per cent of freshwater fish —mostly walleye, northern pike, lake whitefish and yellow perch— coming from Manitoba. Manitoba’s fisheries are spread over 300 lakes and some years they are as large as B.C.’s salmon fisheries. Some smaller fisheries, like the Waterhen Lake walleye and northern pike gillnet have Marine Stewardship Council certification, demonstrating that sustainable fishing practices are possible for larger Manitoba lakes.

“There is no reason why these lakes can’t meet minimum standards including precautionary catch limits, improved reporting and publically available information,” said Wallace. “A first step would be to offer more resources to the provincial fisheries’ branch to improve fisheries practices for these three large lakes.”

Fisheries Improvement Projects (FIPs), which bring the fishing industry, government, conservation groups, processors, distributors and retailers together to improve sustainability also offer a path to reform, said Wallace.

Manitoba’s fish are sold in Canada and exported to U.S. markets and overseas. SeaChoice’s major retailer partner, Federated Co-operatives Limited, carries large quantities of Manitoba lake fish and has made a commitment to source from sustainable fisheries. “Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) is committed to sourcing walleye and northern pike from sustainable fresh water fisheries. FCL encourages the Manitoba Lake fisheries to make a commitment to improve fishery management,” said Lisa Sparrow-Moellenbeck of the Federated Co-operatives Limited.

“For many years, high-quality fisheries have provided food, recreation and jobs for generations of people living near and visiting Manitoba’s lakes,” said Tom Nevakshonoff, Manitoba’s Minister of Conservation and Water Stewardship. “The review we are launching today will result in a science-based, comprehensive management plan to protect the fish stock and ensure resources are here today and maintained for generations to come. We understand that all Manitobans have a collective interest in the development of sustainable fisheries for years to come.”

According to the Manitoba Government, the review will engage a wide cross-section of those with a strong interest in Manitoba’s lakes and fisheries. Considerations will include further implementation of traditional knowledge, improved data and research, sustainable jobs, past assessments, best management practices from other lakes outside of Manitoba, and assessments of ecosystem health and the long-term connections to healthy fish populations. An initial report is expected by the summer of 2016, with the goal of having a long-term management plan for Manitoba’s fisheries subsequently.

For more information:

Lana Brandt, National SeaChoice manager 778.833.2954 –

Scott Wallace, Senior Research Scientist, David Suzuki Foundation 778.558.3984

Click here for full report.

Posted by... lana on Oct 16, 2015

Canadians be warned of the Frankenfish

12095201_10156153884865068_1767683505311377436_oBy Lana Brandt, National SeaChoice Manager

Just in time for Halloween, Canadians have the opportunity to voice their concern around genetically-modified (GM) salmon entering the marketplace. In 2013, the Canadian government was the first country to approve the production of a genetically-modified fish – in this case Atlantic salmon. Although the GM salmon has not yet been approved for human consumption, there is reasonable concern that this GM salmon could be allowed into the Canadian and United States markets, making this the first genetically-modified meat in the world.

Beyond human health concerns, there are also grave issues for the environment. Wild Atlantic salmon are already an endangered species due to overfishing and poor management. If GM Atlantic salmon were to ever escape, they would add pressure to the wild salmon by competing for food. In addition, if interbreeding were to occur, the genetics of wild Atlantic salmon risk being changed forever.

Halloween may be just around the corner, but do you want GM salmon masquerading as Atlantic salmon? Voice your concern here and be sure to tell your friends.

Posted by... lana on Sep 30, 2015

Making waves with MSC

Coal Harobour winter day Vancovuer BCGuest Blog By Catharine Grant, SeaChoice Member from the Ecology Action Centre

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is the largest fisheries eco-certification in the world. MSC’s goal is to promote sustainable fishing practices around the world and to encourage continuous improvement within certified fisheries. MSC has had great success in Canada: more than 80 per cent of Canadian fisheries (by weight) are now MSC certified.

Because of MSC’s influence on our fisheries, and its increasingly wide recognition in the marketplace, SeaChoice will be dedicating resources toward engagement with fisheries that are currently MSC certified or in the MSC assessment process. While MSC has brought about improvements in some fisheries, we believe that it can do more to encourage better practices particularly related to bycatch mitigation and ecosystem/habitat protection.

Because our member organizations have in-depth knowledge of fisheries science, as well as Canadian fisheries policy, SeaChoice is well placed to provide expert input into MSC assessments. We will also monitor fisheries that are already certified to ensure that requirements for improvement (through certification conditions and annual milestones) are met.

To date this year, SeaChoice has submitted comments on MSC assessments for Atlantic halibut, Atlantic herring, 3Ps cod, northwest Atlantic swordfish, northern shrimp and 3LN redfish, as well as met with MSC assessment teams to discuss a wide range of issues related to fisheries sustainability. We have also had ongoing dialogue with MSC staff about how to bring about improvements within the system. We believe that by engaging in MSC processes, and securing good outcomes in certified fisheries, we can help grow Canada’s supply of sustainable seafood.



Posted by... lana on Sep 21, 2015

Slow Fish Dinner is Back

By Lana Brandt, National SeaChoice Manager

photo1Last September B.C. introduced the inaugural Slow Fish mystery dinner to the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts (PICA) and with great success, Slow Fish is coming back on Sunday, September 27. This year the dinner is not a mystery and the menu is now complete with sustainable seafood features from eight top chefs. Check it out!

  • Chef Ned Bell, YEW seafood + bar

Skipper Otto Ling Cod Tacos with Bacon Lime Aioli

(Tinhorn Creek Oldfield Series 2Bench White)

  • Chef Andrea Carlson, Burdock & Co

Wild Gooseneck Barnacles with Wild Rice and Belle de Boskoop Apples

(Covert Farms 2014 Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon)

  • Chef Robert Clark, The Fish Counter

Rick Burns Pickled Salmon with Helmer’s Organic Farm Potato Salad and TFC Saffron Ailoli

(Haywire Switchback Vineyard Pinot Gris)

  • Chef Scott Jaeger, The Pear Tree

Outlandish Shellfish Guild Scallops

(2013 Sage Hills Syrah Rose)

  • photo4Chef Greg McCallum, L’Abattoir

Sea Urchin Royale – a Delicate Custard Seasoned with Smoked Kelp served with Grilled Pine Mushrooms

(See Ya Later Ranch Pinot Noir)

  • Chef Alana Peckham, Alligga

Pan Seared Sustainable Seas Traceable Halibut with Moso Wakame Puree Orange Soy Espuma and Sesame Bok Choy

(Kalala 2013 Gewurztraminer)

  • Chef Dino Renaerts, Bon Vivant Catering

Squid Ink Risotto with Geoduck Lightly Cured with Olive Oil & Lemon

(vidPerdu 2014 Pinot Gris)

  • Chef Chris Whittaker, Forage

Grilled Pacific Octopus with Chickpeas, Charred Lemon and Glorious Organics Beets and Arugula

(Inniskillin Chardonnay)

Tphoto7here will also be canapes from the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts’ Students and dessert from Bella Gelateria!

Don’t miss out on getting your tickets as they won’t last long!! Click here to buy your ticket for $89.


Posted by... lana on Sep 11, 2015

What’s in your canned tuna?

By Lana Brandt, National SeaChoice Manager

SeaChoice-ad-Back-to-SchoolTuna is one of Canada’s favourite fish to enjoy and canned tuna is a common staple for many households as it is often an easy and affordable protein to prepare. Unfortunately not all canned tuna is created equally. The growing demand for tuna has pushed many species to become threatened. Some of the fishing techniques used to catch tuna also involve destructive practices that harm other species. Purse seine fishing fleets often set giant nets around floating objects referred to a Fishing Aggregating Devices (FADs) are used to attract tuna, but unfortunately they also catch many other species including sharks, rays, and sea turtles.

In 2011, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reported that yellowfin, skipjack, bigeye, and albacore tuna are the most commonly found tuna species in canned tuna. Unfortunately three of these species are near threatened or are threatened. By continuing to demand these unsustainable species found in canned tuna, these species are all at risk to become extinct.

So what’s in your canned tuna? Luckily Greenpeace Canada has created both a handy tuna ranking and smart phone app to help Canadians determine how sustainable their canned tuna is. Take a moment and use these recommendations with the SeaChoice guide to help you make smarter tuna choices when dining out and shopping at your grocery store.


Posted by... lana on Aug 11, 2015

SeaChoice stands strong behind eco-label

By Lana Gunnlaugson, National SeaChoice Manager

Seachoice-FB-postcard-finalEarlier this week, SeaChoice announced in a media release the discontinuation of our partnership with Overwaitea Food Group (OFG). They were Canada’s first major retailer to partner with an environmental group and it is the first partnership to be terminated. Throughout the week there has been some media coverage on the issue, which has asked the reason why SeaChoice ended one of their more prominent partnerships. I am writing this blog to clarify the messaging and to state publically that SeaChoice and its four member organizations stand strong behind the SeaChoice eco-label.

When SeaChoice signs a sustainable seafood partnership with a major retailer, this involves an in-depth collaboration agreement that outlines six essential steps for retailers to take in operating a sustainable seafood program. These include making a public commitment, collecting data, buying environmentally responsible seafood, being transparent about seafood sourcing, educating staff and consumers, and supporting reform of unsustainable fisheries. 

SeaChoice stands strong behind our eco-label so that we can help Canadians make informed decisions when purchasing seafood. We encourage Canadians to ask more questions about where their seafood is really coming from.
To follow this story and more news from SeaChoice, sign up for our blog today.

Next Page »