Taking Stock Report

Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 5.42.30 PMFishery and aquaculture operations in Canada are important contributors to the ecological, economic, social and cultural fabric of Canada. To ensure continued or increased supply of seafood for domestic consumption and export, exploitation and production of these foods must be carried out in a manner that does not degrade their ecosystems. Canada also has a responsibility to ensure products it imports do not contribute to ecosystem degradation elsewhere and are obtained in ways that are respectful of human rights.
Key Results:
  • Sixteen per cent of all seafood (by volume) produced in Canada is ranked green (Best Choice), 61 per cent is ranked yellow (Some Concerns), 14 per cent is red (Avoid) and nine per cent is unranked.
  • Canada assesses 48 per cent of its fish stocks to be “healthy”, a  significantly different finding from this analysis.
  • Approximately 80 per cent (by value) and 67 per cent (by volume) of Canadian wild-caught fisheries are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and have conditions in place to improve sustainability.
  • Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certifications are growing on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, with five farms certified and seven within the certification process as of April 2016.

Taking Stock infographic

1) To improve seafood sustainability tracking in Canada and the effectiveness of market-based
  • Canada should require government agencies to improve seafood labelling and reporting of fisheries and aquaculture products by requiring species-level identifications.
  • ENGOs assisting with sustainable seafood procurements should adopt a shared data gathering tool to track program effectiveness.
2) To eliminate red-ranked seafood and increase availability of green-ranked seafood as well as address human rights abuses in seafood production:
  • Canadian retailers, food-service companies and restaurants should continue to avoid buying red-ranked seafood.
  • Canada should support traceability requirements as a part of sustainability assessments and examine human rights abuses in the seafood supply chain.
  • Focus should be on improving practices or restricting imports from red-ranked fisheries within and outside of Canada.
3) To ensure that eco-certification programs are credible, aligned with Canadian law and policy and result in improved fisheries sustainability, including impacts on target species and impacts of fishing on the ecosystem, we recommend:
  • Canadian fisheries certified by the MSC meet conditions within a reasonable timeframe, with MSC conditions that are consistent with Canadian laws and policies relating to sustainable fisheries and marine biodiversity protection, and with a particular focus on species assessed by COSEWIC and considered at risk.
  • ASC certifications, particularly with reference to the Salmon Standard, should not undermine wild salmon management and must uphold a high standard for disease and pathogen control.

Click here for a copy of the full report. Click here to read the key findings.

Learn more with the SeaChoice video on Labelling and Traceability:

Learn more with the SeaChoice video on red-listed seafood in Canada: